Nets’ Kyrie Irving defends posting of controversial social media post during tense press conference

Nets Kyrie irving
Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving tries to get past Milwaukee Bucks’ George Hill during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, in Milwaukee.
AP Photo/Morry Gash

Kyrie Irving didn’t back down from the latest controversy he found himself entangled in following the Nets’ latest loss on Saturday night. Last week, Irving shared on his social media platforms a film that is viewed as antisemitic and since then has received backlash, including denunciations from Nets owner Joe Tsai and the NBA. 

However, the Nets star defended his right to post what he wanted and has not taken down the post from his Twitter account, which boasts 4.5 million followers.  

“Out of all the judgment that people got out of me posting, without talking to me, I respect what Joe said, but there has a lot to do with not ego or pride with how proud I am to be African heritage but also to be living as a free black man here in America knowing the historical complexities for me to get here. So I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me,’ Irving said during a tense press conference. 

The film in question is titled “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” and Irving had shared a link to the movie’s Amazon page on his Twitter and Instagram on Thursday. It was on Friday when Rolling Stone first published a report on the film and the antisemitic tropes throughout it. 

The 2018 movie was based on a book of the same name first published in 2014. Irving did confirm that he had watched the film after searching on Amazon for the name Yahweh, which he said his name translates to in Hebrew. 

“We’re in 2022. History is not supposed to be hidden from anybody and I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion,” Irving said. “I embrace all walks of life. … I’m in a unique position to have a level of influence on my community and what I post does not mean I support everything that is being said or everything that’s being done or I’m campaigning for anything. All I do is post things for my people and my community and for those that it’s actually going to impact. Anybody else that has criticism it obviously wasn’t meant for them.” 

Irving continued to defend his right to post what he wanted later adding that the film is on a public platform and that people can choose to watch it or not watch it for themselves. 

“There’s things being posted every day,” Irving said. “I’m no different from the next human being so don’t treat me any different. You guys come in here and make up this powerful influence that I have over top of the adultery of, you cannot post that. Why not? Why not?”

The basketball star carries a combined following of 22 million between his Instagram and Twitter accounts. 

This is the second time that Irving has come under fire for something that he had posted on social media. A few weeks back, Irving shared an old clip of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones talking about a secret society known as the “New World Order.”

Jones had claimed that the Sandy Hook Shooting had been faked and was recently ordered to pay nearly $1 billion to the families of the Sandy Hook victims that sued him for defamation after he falsely claimed that they were crisis actors. Jones’ own lawyers have argued that no reasonable person would view what he said on his show as fact as well.

Irving said that he did not support Jones or his opinions on Sandy Hook. The post had gone relatively unreported on at 

 “My post was a post from Alex Jones that he did in the early ’90s or late ’90s about secret societies in America of occults. And it’s true,” he said. “So I wasn’t identifying with anything of being a campaignist for Alex Jones or anything. … It’s actually hilarious because out of all the things I posted that day, that was the one post that everyone chose to see. It just goes back to the way our world is and works. I’m not here to complain about it, I just exist.”

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Nets coach Steve Nash said the team had spoken with Irving about his latest controversy, but the Tweet remained up. The already tense press conference got even tenser when a reporter pressed Irving about his promotion of the film, to which Irving took offense and suggest that the reporter had only been looking to gain social media stature from the exchange.  

It’s unclear if the Nets or the NBA would take further action against Irving for his post.