Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving was seen burning sage during warm-ups on the court at TD Garden and later revealed he plans to burn sage before every game this season to honor his Native American heritage. Irving then put up a good performance in the Nets' preseason finale as he scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists in a comfortable 113-89 road win over the Boston Celtics.
"It just comes from a lot of native tribes," Irving said after the game, per ESPN. "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."
Irving spoke with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown
Irving, who left the Boston Celtics in the 2019 NBA free agency to sign with the Nets, had a chat with his ex-teammates Tatum and Brown before exiting for the game.
After the game, Irving traded jerseys with Tatum and another Celtic Robert Williams. "It's like another day at the job, honestly," Irving said. "I'm grateful to be able to have relationships with a lot of these guys who are still here, guys who aren't here still.
And, at the end of the day, we went to war together. And I respect all those young men down there. "We're not even young. We're just young kings growing in a business where we want to do what makes us happy. To see Jayson get better, to see Jaylen get better, to see these guys mature and be in the positions they're in, I'm nothing but proud of them.
To see other guys be happy, that's all I could want. Coming here is easy, man. Performing here is easy. Performing here is easy. Basketball is the easy part. It's just the external stuff beforehand that gets noisy, so I try to limit that."