Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving said Friday he's observing Ramadan as part of his Muslim faith, which has led to changes in some of his pregame preparations.
Irving discussed the "adjustment" after recording 15 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds and four steals in Friday's 109-104 win over the Boston Celtics:
He's one of several NBA players observing Ramadan, which began April 12 and runs for 30 days:
Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter explained recently that playing in games can help take your mind off the sunrise-to-sunset fasting.
"Once the game is going, you don't think about 'you're thirsty,' you don't think about 'you're hungry' or anything like that," Kanter told reporters. "You're just focusing on the game."
He added: "One thing about Ramadan, I feel like it is all up in your head. It's all about just mental strength."
Meanwhile, Irving stated in December he would also begin burning sage before every game to honor his Native American heritage.
"It just comes from a lot of native tribes. Being able to sage, just cleanse the energy, make sure that we're all balanced. When we come into this job, we come into this place, it's not anything that I don't do at home that I did today. I saged last game, and I plan to sage almost every game if the opposing team will allow me to.
"But, literally, it's more or less for us to stay connected and for us to feel great about going to work and feeling safe and provided for from our ancestors. I'm not going to bring too much of the spirituality into basketball, but yeah, it's part of my native culture where I'm from."
His mother, Elizabeth, was a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North and South Dakota.
Ramadan will conclude May 12, four days before the Nets finish the regular season and turn their focus to a potential championship run.
Irving has been a driving force behind Brooklyn's success—they lead the Eastern Conference with a 40-20 record—ranking seventh in the NBA by averaging 27.1 points through 44 games. His presence alongside Kevin Durant and James Harden gives the Nets the league's most high-end star power.