New York, 20 January 2021 (tca/dpa/MIA) – Kyrie Irving bought a home for the family of the late George Floyd, former NBA player Stephen Jackson said on a podcast.
The mercurial Nets point guard made the purchase shortly after Floyd was killed by police in Minnesota last year, according to an ESPN report.
Irving has been particularly focused on social and political issues over the past year.
When the NBA bubble was proposed in 2020, he said that it would serve only to distract players and the country from the anti-racism protests rocking the United States at the time — protests that were ignited by Floyd’s killing under the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
“I don’t support going into Orlando,” Irving reportedly said in June. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bulls—. Something smells a little fishy.”
Irving wouldn’t have played in the bubble due to a shoulder injury regardless. His concerns were largely proved true, as a short-lived player strike after Jacob Blake’s shooting by Wisconsin police was quashed by LeBron James and Barack Obama.
Irving’s mysterious absence from the Nets this month is reportedly tied to the decision to not charge the officer who shot Blake in the back. Irving has not played since January 5, the night before the Capitol riots happened and the absence of charges in the Blake case was announced. His personal leave is reportedly connected to both.
In his time away from the team, Irving was seen maskless in a club at his sister’s birthday party and on a Zoom call for Manhattan district attorney candidate Tahani Aboushi, who supports reducing mass incarceration.
His personal absence is over and he’s cleared the league’s Covid-19 protocols, but the team is being patient with his conditioning. He was ruled out for Monday night’s game against the Bucks.
Irving also committed seven figures in cash to WNBA players who didn’t want to play during the pandemic last summer.
The Floyd home was first surfaced by Jackson, the NBA veteran who was a longtime personal friend of George Floyd. Jackson and Floyd called each other “twin,” and after Floyd’s death, Jackson was a prominent early voice for justice.
“Make these men pay for what they’ve done to my brother and keep the peace,” he said in May of the four officers fired after Floyd’s killing.
“He was a stand-up guy and one of the best people I met.”