Report: Kyrie Irving Suggested NBA Players Start Own League on Restart Call

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2020

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) handles the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, in Washington. The Wizards won 113-107. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving reportedly wants no part of the NBA's plan to restart the season with a 22-team format in Orlando, Florida, and went as far as to suggest players should form their own league.

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Irving said the Nets should skip the NBA's restart at Disney World during a group chat with his teammates. He also proposed the idea that players start their own league.

"To be clear on this, Kyrie Irving has proposed to his teammates they should start their own league, and it's not necessarily in response to the bubble situation," Bondy wrote.

Ryen Russillo of The Ringer added more context:

Russillo @ryenarussillo

Kyrie telling other players they should start their own league is not new. He’s talked to teammates about it this season. Based on what I was told KD was not as enthusiastic. Taped a new Pod on it this morning. Out soon.

However, Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks reported Irving did not tell the Nets they should start their own league because of the league's bubble plan:

Taylor Rooks @TaylorRooks

Sources tell me that Kyrie Irving never stated that the Nets should begin their own league in response to the bubble. I'm told that after that report came out, he left the group chat.

This comes after Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews of ESPN reported Irving and Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley helped organize a player coalition in an effort to give a voice to anyone who is reluctant to speak out about concerns with the league's restart plan.

Irving is among those who are worried that starting basketball again will take away from the national focus on systemic racism and police brutality. What's more, there is also the fact the COVID-19 pandemic is still a grave concern in this country and players will likely be away from their families for extended periods and face injury risk with a shortened training camp.

Wojnarowski and Andrews noted Irving and Bradley helped organize player calls on Friday and Monday to discuss such issues.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard joined ESPN's Mike Greenberg as part of the network's The Return of Sports special Monday and said Irving raised some quality points (around 1:50 in the video):

As Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium shared, the NBA told its teams "a central goal of our season restart will be to utilize the NBA's platform to bring attention and sustained action to issues of social injustice":

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

NBA has informed all 30 teams of this entering 2019-20 resumption: "A central goal of our season restart will be to utilize the NBA's platform to bring attention and sustained action to issues of social injustice..." https://t.co/qfrRms88Hi

For now, the plan is to restart the season on July 30 with the 22 invited teams playing eight-regular season games each before a potential play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed and a traditional 16-team playoff format with best-of-seven series. 

On Tuesday, Charania reported players will have amenities such as lounges, pools, barbers, 24-hour VIP concierge service, daily movies and lawn games while in the Orlando campus.