Kyrie Irving’s eight-game suspension ended Sunday, with the star point guard fit for the Brooklyn Nets’ game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Irving has not played for the Nets since Nov. 1. The Nets suspended Irving on Nov. 3 for tweeting a link to a documentary containing anti-Semitic messages, then initially refused to issue an apology.
Irving has since apologized multiple times, including during Sunday’s pregame media interview.
“I just want to apologize deeply to everyone who has been affected over the past few weeks, especially my Jewish relatives, black relatives, all races and cultures,” Irving said Sunday. Hate speech or anti-Semitism or anything ‘anti’, against humanity.”
“I feel compelled to stand here and take responsibility for my actions,” Irving said.
Irving received a warm welcome from the Brooklyn crowd during his pregame introductions. He finished the night with 14 points and five rebounds in the Nets’ 127-115 win over the Grizzlies.
Irving said after the game that it “feels good” to be back on the court.
“Missing my teammates,” Irving told reporters. “Miss the coaching staff. It feels good to get ready with them in the morning and then get on with the game.”
Asked if he would appeal the suspension, Irving said he would leave that decision to his legal team.
“I’ve had some strong people around me, men and women, who will do whatever it takes to make sure my family and I are protected and we’re going to protect each other, so I’m sure some things will be in the future,” Owen said. “There’s no timeline yet.”
Before Sunday’s game, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn had no hesitation in deciding to bring Irving on the court to start the game.
“He’s going to start and we’ll see how he fits in and how we want to play. It’s nice to have him back on the floor with our team and he’ll fit in,” Vaughan said.
In an interview with SNY’s Ian Begley on Saturday, Irwin said he had an emotional reaction to being called an “anti-Semite.”
“I feel like I’m protecting my character and my reaction is purely defensive and just hurts what I might be labeled as, or I think I’ve been labeled anti-Semitic or anti-Semitic, I feel like That’s just so disrespectful to ask me if I’m anti-Semitic,” Irwin said.
The Nets’ next scheduled game is Tuesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.