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Kyrie Irving releases written statement, reportedly will ‘blackout’ media this season with Brooklyn

Kyrie Irving's Brooklyn Nets figure to be an Eastern Conference contender this season, with both he and Kevin Durant expected to be healthy.
Kyrie Irving's Brooklyn Nets figure to be an Eastern Conference contender this season, with both he and Kevin Durant expected to be healthy.Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Kyrie Irving skipped meeting with the media on Friday, the enigmatic Brooklyn Nets guard instead releasing a written statement inferring the move may not be a one-time decision.

“COVID-19 has impacted us all in many ways, so I pray for the safety and health of our communities domestically and abroad. I am truly excited for the season to start and I am also praying that everyone remains safe and healthy throughout this journey,” Irving said, adding that the statement was to “ensure that my message is properly conveyed.

“I am committed to show up to work every day, ready to have fun, compete, perform, and win championships alongside my teammates and colleagues in the Nets organization. My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself. Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change.”

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ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Friday afternoon that Irving will conduct a “media blackout” this season, his second with the Nets after departing the Celtics in free agency. Irving played in just 20 games last season, a campaign that began with a 50-point game in October and ended with shoulder surgery on March 3, eight days before the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted the NBA season.

The NBA mandates players be accessible to reporters, with the Collective Bargaining Agreement noting “upon request, [players] shall consent to and make [themselves] available for interviews by representatives of the media conducted at reasonable times.” Fines can be levied if players refuse to do so.