Former Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is looking forward to a fresh start with the Dallas Mavericks.
“I just know I want to be in a place where I’m celebrated and not just tolerated or dealt with in a way that doesn’t make me feel respected,” Irving told reporters Tuesday at his introductory press conference, including ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.
“There were times throughout this process when I was in Brooklyn where I felt very disrespected. I work extremely hard at what I do. No one ever talks about my work ethic, though. Everyone talks about what I’m doing off the floor. I just want to change that narrative. Write my own story.”
Irving’s off-court controversies overshadowed his excellent play over four seasons in Brooklyn. The eight-time All-Star made only 29 appearances during the 2021-22 campaign because he refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and New York City prohibited unvaccinated players on the Nets and New York Knicks from playing home games. Irving then missed eight contests in November for sharing a link to a movie containing antisemitic tropes.
Irving didn’t specify how the Nets disrespected him, but the former No. 1 overall pick said that signing with his childhood club in free agency was a naive decision.
“I wish I would’ve got to know the people that were behind the organization. … When things start to change, and you’re not getting transparency and honesty from people in the front office or people around you, I don’t know what person feels comfortable or confident in that type of environment,” Irving said, according to NBA.com’s Mark Medina.
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