Kyrie Irving Says There's 'A Lot of Gratitude Just to Be Present' with Nets in Return

Doric SamJanuary 6, 2022

Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving reacts after hitting a shot 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

The Brooklyn Nets welcomed point guard Kyrie Irving back to the lineup in Wednesday's win over the Indiana Pacers. After the game, Irving discussed how he felt during his season debut.

"There's a lot of gratitude just to be present tonight with everyone and go out there and have fun doing what we love to do," Irving told reporters.

Irving rejoined the Nets to play in road games after the team initially refused to allow him to participate as a part-time player. He won't be able to play in home games because of New York City's vaccine mandate.

In his first game back, Irving scored 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting. The Nets overcame a 19-point deficit in Wednesday's victory. Irving said that the players knew they had to up their play after halftime.

"It was a not-so-good first half for us and we came in the locker room and we knew that in order to build this identity that we want to have later in the season, we gotta start now," he said.

Kevin Durant led Brooklyn with 39 points, while James Harden added 18. Irving said that he feels like joining the team at this point in the season will be beneficial in multiple ways.

"With me joining right now, I feel like I have a voice to say things," he said. "But really, it's just to add on to what Steve's been saying, to what our leadership's been saying on the team, which is that we have to have a resolve.

"We have to continue to do the little things: boxing out, being there for our teammates and just playing with a strong face, just going out there and doing what we do."