Nets' Steve Nash Says Giving Kyrie Irving 1st Shot in Return 'A Welcome-Back Gift'

Doric SamJanuary 6, 2022

Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash reacts with Kyrie Irving during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving made his season debut in Wednesday's 129-121 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Irving, who finished with 22 points, didn't hesitate from the start and took the first shot of the game for Brooklyn. Nets head coach Steve Nash said afterward that it was planned, calling it a "welcome-back gift."

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Steve Nash says the playcall to have Kyrie Irving to take the first shot of the game tonight was designed:<br><br>"It was a welcome back gift" <a href="https://t.co/16nQmLBEDZ">pic.twitter.com/16nQmLBEDZ</a>

Despite initially refusing to allow him to participate as a part-time player, Brooklyn welcomed Irving back a couple of weeks ago to play in road games. He remains unable to play in home contests because of New York City's vaccine mandate. Soon after rejoining the Nets, Irving was placed in the NBA's health and safety protocols.

Brooklyn overcame a 19-point deficit in Wednesday's victory. Star forward Kevin Durant led the team with 39 points on 15-of-24 shooting.