In the wake of NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s statement that he was disappointed Kyrie Irving did not apologize for promoting an antisemitic film, Irving met with a scrum of reporters on Thursday.
Irving was asked if he holds antisemitic beliefs, and claimed that he “cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.” Irving also declined to apologize directly to the Jewish community, but upheld that he respects “all walks of life and embrace all walks of life.”
In a sprawling, three-minute response to a reporters question about whether he was surprised some people were hurt by his actions, Irving addressed racial bias in America, exposing “things that our world continues to put in darkness,” and the power of the dictionary.
"I'm a beacon of light. I'm not afraid of these mics, these cameras. Any label you put on me I'm able to dismiss because I study. I know the Oxford dictionary."
Kyrie Irving with a lengthy answer on the public reaction to his sharing of an anti-Semitic film on social media: pic.twitter.com/JgG9hOFQiU
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) November 3, 2022
“So I take my full responsibility, again I’ll repeat it, for posting something on my Instagram or Twitter that may have had some unfortunate falsehoods in it.
But I also am a human being that’s 30 years old and I’ve been growing up in a country that’s told me that I wasn’t worth anything and I came from a slave class, and that I come from a people that are meant to be treated the way we get treated every day. So… I’m not here to compare anyone’s atrocities or tragic events that their families have dealt with, generations of time. I’m just here to continue to expose things that our world continues to put in darkness.
I’m a light. I’m a beacon of light. It’s what I’m here to do.
You guys ask me questions about basketball, I give my expert opinion. You guys ask me about other things, I give you my opinion and it’s met with whatever you believe the perception or the deception is.
You guys investigate my life every day, and you justify it by serving your own purpose, which I honor. I would like the same respect in return. Figuring out just like anyone else. So please keep that same energy when we’re talking about anti- other things. Because just because I post a documentary doesn’t mean I’m antisemitic and doesn’t mean that I’m automatically standing with everyone that is believing in that.
So, it’s unfortunate timing that we’re in but I’m glad that I can stand on the truth because I’m not afraid of these mics, these cameras. I used to be. Looking everyone in the eye and telling them the truth, that I’m proud of who I am. Any label that you put on me I’m able to dismiss because I study. I know the Oxford dictionary, you look it up, right?
One of the biggest mistakes I had in being a kid was not knowing European or Western language until I started looking it up and understanding the definitions and why they say ‘if you want to trick a Black person, put it in a book.’ I was wondering my whole life why they said that. Now I’m 30 years old and I know reading is a superpower because it helps me understand where I’m going and where I’ve come from. Like a tree with roots.”