Kyrie Irving, one of the NBA’s most controversial players, is at it again, this time saying that he doesn’t really even consider himself an American player — even though he has played for Team USA in the Olympics.
In an interview on Twitch, Irving claimed that he considers himself an “international player,” not an American.
As it happens, Irving was born to American parents in Australia. The Irving family lived in Melbourne for a few years while the player’s father, Drederick Irving, played for the Bulleen Boomers in the semi-professional South East Australian Basketball League. But they moved back to the U.S. when Irving was two.
“I consider myself an international player even though I played on Team USA,” Irving said, according to Bleacher Report.
“A lot of my peers laugh at me when I bring it up, and some fans may not agree, but I was born in Australia. Team USA asked me to play for them when I was 17 or 18,” he added. “I wanted to play for Australia, but it just didn’t happen. Coach K wasn’t going to let that happen either.”
By “Coach K,” Irving meant Mike Krzyzewski, coach of Team USA in 2014 and 2016 when Irving played for America. Apparently the coach talked him out of joining the Australian team.
Krzyzewski “was a huge part of the decision,” Irving said in 2016. “I mean, he’s Coach K. As a young fella, he definitely did tell me I had a chance to be a part of something bigger than myself and ultimately being the starting point guard on the U.S. Olympic team. I never thought it would happen as soon as it has.”
No matter where he was born, Irving has represented the U.S. in a number of international contests, and he made his fame and fortune as a pro basketball player in the U.S.A.
It seems unlikely that he will be playing for anyone at the Olympics these days, of course. Even his days with the NBA are likely numbered. But for years he was one of the league’s standout players.
However, along the way, Irving made himself one of the most controversial players in the league.
In 2021, for instance, he made himself notorious among liberals — but a hero to millions of others — for blatantly refusing to take any of the coronavirus vaccines. As a result, he was suspended and lost millions in earnings.
“I gave up four years, 100-and-something million deciding to be unvaccinated, and that was the decision,” Irving said in September 2022, according to ESPN. “[Get this] contract, get vaccinated or be unvaccinated, and there’s a level of uncertainty of your future, whether you’re going to be in this league, whether you’re going to be on this team, so I had to deal with that real-life circumstance of losing my job for this decision.”
Refusing the vaccine was not the only thing that got him in Dutch with the famously woke NBA.
He also became a pariah among many and was called an anti-Semite for pushing information put out by an anti-Semitic group called the Black Hebrew Israelites, who claim they, not the white Jews, are the real children of God.
In October 2022, Irving took to his social media and alerted his followers to a film produced by the radical black group. Then he steadfastly refused to agree to demands from his team, the Brooklyn Nets, to apologize and publicly aver that he is not anti-Semitic.
Ultimately, the Nets suspended Irving until he finally apologized, Breitbart reported at the time.
He was not only benched for five games, but he also lost endorsements — most notably Nike, according to Breitbart.
There is a great irony in Irving’s longing to play for Team Australia, though. Of all the Western countries, Australia is one of the most strict in forcing everyone to take vaccinations for COVID-19. So, even as he has refused to get vaccinated in the U.S., he was still allowed to live up to his convictions by maintaining that refusal. But during the height of the pandemic, he wouldn’t have even have been allowed to enter Australia, much less play basketball there — citizenship or not — because he is unvaccinated.
Apparently, despite all his claims to stand on freedom, he has not taken any time at all to realize that he has more of it here than he thinks.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.