Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has been the most talked about player in the NBA this season, and it hasn't been because of his stellar play.
Irving breaks Twitter
In late October, the Nets organization was thrown into turmoil due to Irving's actions after the talented scorer took to Twitter to share a link to the antisemitic and deeply controversial film "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America".
In the wake of his post, the NBA world was turned on its head as both the league office and the Nets eventually fined and suspended the 30-year-old.
Understandably, the frenzy that followed in the NBA media was unforgiving, and Brian Windhorst of ESPN did not hold back when addressing Irving's behavior.
"He has been a consistent distraction since he got there. I do think, hopefully, that this episode has been put behind the Nets, and he certainly spoke about this in a way that should be able to put it behind them. If you watched the game last night, the Nets played with tremendous energy and team-wide connectedness, so they look like they put it past them, but there are two things that have kept this Nets team from achieving what they should over the last two or three years. One is injury, and you can't control that; that's as old as the game itself, the second thing is off-court distractions which Kyrie has consistently caused this team, and it's been exacerbated by the fact that the Nets have generally not held him to account.
He didn't get suspended for the tweet that he put out; he got suspended for the way he handled the backlash to it. So this suspension appears like it's been able to reset things, but how can I predict anything with Kyrie Irving? "
Irving's punishment was steep
Following the backlash, Irving has since apologized on multiple occasions and fulfilled the "return to play" requirements enforced by the Nets front office that included a $500,000.00 donation, sensitivity training, antisemitic training, a meeting with ADL and Jewish leaders, and a meeting with Nets' owner Joe Tsai to demonstrate his understanding.
The 2016 NBA champion returned to the floor Sunday night, notching 14 points and 5 assists in 25 minutes as the Nets defeated the Grizzlies inside Barclays Center.