Irving told reporters that "it's our job to stand up for what we believe in" with issues at home and abroad:
Andrew Duncan, movie producer and activist, bought out a section of 300 tickets at Barclays Center to host Chinese pro-democracy activists:
Per ESPN's Malika Andrews, Irving also spoke about what he told NBA Commissioner Adam Silver during a meeting that took place when the Nets and Los Angeles Lakers were in China for two preseason games.
"I stand for four things, man," he said. "Inner peace. Freedom. Equality and World Peace. So, if that is being conflicted inside of me, I am definitely going to have something to say."
Per ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Irving "questioned whether it was worth playing the games in such a charged environment" in the meeting with Silver and "if a requirement for those games was dealing with the fallout (Houston Rockets general manager Daryl) Morey's tweet created, he would rather not play at all."
The Nets and Lakers wound up playing both of their scheduled preseason games in China, but the NBA canceled the media availability for the teams to avoid players having to answer questions about the ongoing situation between the league and China's government in the wake of Morey's since-deleted tweet about the Hong Kong protests.
Friday marked the first time Irving has talked to the media since everything in China went down. He also played 25 minutes against the Raptors in his second appearance of the preseason.