Report: Kyrie Irving, Avery Bradley 'vocal' about NBA restart concerns

Darren Hartwell
NBC Sports Boston

Many players are raising important questions about the NBA's plan to resume the 2019-20 season -- and a pair of former Boston Celtics guards apparently are leading the charge.

Several outlets reported that Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has been a "driving force" in bringing up issues about the restart during calls with fellow NBA players.

The Athletic's Shams Charania provided more detail Friday about Irving's concerns while adding that Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley also played a key role on the calls.

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Per Charania, Irving actually is against going to Orlando, where the NBA plans to host 22 teams in a "bubble" environment and resume the season on July 30 with eight "seeding games" before the postseason.

"I don't support going into Orlando," Irving told the players, according to Charania. "I'm not with the systematic racism and the bulls---. … Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up."

Irving's comments come after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd's death has sparked nationwide protests against racial inequality and police brutality in America, several of which NBA players -- including Boston's Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier -- have participated in.

Irving seemingly is wary of NBA players diverting their energies away from these protests to play in a contained environment for the purpose of entertaining fans.

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Bradley, who left the Celtics just before Irving arrived in the summer of 2017, apparently agreed with Irving on a recent call with players.

"(Bradley) was vocal throughout, urging players to take a stand and utilize this moment to 'play chess, not checkers,' " Charania reported.

Both Bradley and Irving "have led the communication efforts" of a group of 80-plus players that consists of several NBA stars such as Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Donovan Mitchell, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, according to Charania.

Bradley's efforts may surprise some Celtics fans who remember him as a soft-spoken player in Boston, but the 29-year-old is a 12-year veteran who is well-respected in NBA circles.

Celtics fans won't be surprised that Irving is speaking up and being a "disruptor," according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. But Irving, Bradley and the players reportedly are vocalizing the legitimate concerns of many players that they'll have to work out with the league if the season is to resume.

Report: Kyrie Irving, Avery Bradley 'vocal' about NBA restart concerns originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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