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Kyrie Irving: “The “Anti-Semitic” label that is being pushed on me is not justified”

Seattle Storm v Los Angeles Sparks

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 7: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets attends the game between the Seattle Storm and the Los Angeles Sparks on July 7, 2022 at Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Kyrie Irving stepped into another controversy when he tweeted a link to a controversial movie that is considered by many to be anti-Semitic. Both the Nets owner Joe Tsai and the organization condemned and distanced themselves from the Tweet, and Irving got plenty of backlash on social media.

Irving has now responded, saying that the suggestion he is anti-Semitic “is not justified.”

“Hélà" is Irving’s Lakota name, meaning “Little Mountain.” Irving’s mother and grandparents were members of the tribe — his mother lived on the reservation for a time — and he has spent time with the tribe learning about them and being honored by them.

This is not the first time Irving — who considers himself an iconoclast and “free thinker — has stepped into controversy with his beliefs and statements. Irving missed most of last season due to his refusal to be vaccinated and the New York City vaccine mandate. Then there was the time he said he believed the earth was flat (something he later apologized for). Then, just days before the start of training camp this season, Irving shared a video from Alex Jones, one of the most famed voices of conspiracy theories, a man who called the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax (courts are now making him pay millions for those statements after being sued by the child victims of that shooting).

Irving averages 29.6 points per game for the Nets, who are 1-4 so far this season.