Kevin Durant defended outspoken Brooklyn Nets teammate Kyrie Irving for telling the "raw truth" despite knowing he would receive backlash for speaking his mind.
"What does misunderstood mean?" Durant said. "I think the truth sometimes can hurt a lot of people. When you tell the raw truth, especially in this society, it's frowned upon. And Kyrie just tells it like it is. There's no sugarcoating."
In June, Irving said the NBA shouldn't resume the 2019-20 season because of the nationwide social justice movement, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic:
While the reaction was mixed, some privately agreed with him, including an unnamed "widely respected NBA player" who questioned how a resumption of play would impact the situation to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
"Once we start playing basketball again, the news will turn from systemic racism to who did what in the game last night," the player said. "It's a crucial time for us to be able to play and blend that and impact what's happening in our communities. We are asking ourselves, 'Where and how can we make the biggest impact?'"
The Nets' Wilson Chandler added:
Irving has been a polarizing figure throughout his NBA career, which included previous stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, in large part because he's always willing to speak out.
Durant, who's no stranger to backlash after his 2016 move from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden State Warriors, doesn't see that as a negative trait, though.
The dynamic duo will link up for Brooklyn for the first time next season after KD missed the entire 2019-20 campaign while recovering from a ruptured Achilles.