LeBron James comes to Kyrie Irving’s defense, says he should be playing: ‘It’s that simple’

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James defended Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving on Thursday.

Irving is out of the lineup for the Nets while serving a suspension from the team for promoting a documentary with anti-Semitic beliefs in it. Irving pushed back rather than apologizing when he first was asked about the post, leading to the team suspending him for at least five games.

He later issued an apology on Instagram, and James believes that apology should have been enough to allow Irving to return to the floor.

The Nets reportedly have a series of guidelines that Irving must meet in order to return to the team. There are a series of training sessions that he must complete before the team allows him to suit up again.

The Nets have played four games without Irving, going 3-1 over that stretch, including a blowout win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

James, who played with Irving on the Cleveland Cavaliers, wants to see his former teammate get a chance to come back from his wrongdoings.

James and Irving won a title together in Cleveland during the 2015-16 season, but they ultimately parted ways when Irving requested a trade and was dealt to the Boston Celtics.

Irving’s initial refusal to apologize for promoting the documentary or condemn its messages was extremely concerning. It appears that the Nets want him to complete these steps to make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again.

Brooklyn was expected to be one of the better teams in the NBA this season, but Irving’s status has thrown a bit of a curveball into the Nets’ long-term outlook. Kevin Durant should be able to get this team into playoff contention, but the Nets will need Irving back if they really want to compete for an NBA title.

James and the Lakers are sitting at 2-9 on the season after losing to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. After rumors swirled in the offseason of the Lakers potentially trading for Irving, that seems to be a long shot given the recent events surrounding the Nets guard.

While James clearly wants to see his former teammate get a chance to play again, it’s unclear when Irving will return to the Nets.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.