Nets: Kyrie Irving partying videos reportedly leak from recent absence

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 27: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 27: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Nets star Kyrie Irving appears to have been partying maskless for his sister’s birthday this week.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is a mercurial figure in the modern NBA who has proven, at every recent stop, that kid gloves are sometimes quite necessary.

Irving can always be counted on in clutch situations — but only if he so chooses to be available. And when it comes to the 28-year-old point guard, that assumption isn’t always an accurate one.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the player empowerment era, it has become almost routine to see Irving dictate how much he contributes in any given season or situation, something his coaches — even Brad Stevens in Boston — have largely acquiesced to over the past several seasons. Steve Nash’s reign hasn’t been any different so far; shortly after Kevin Durant left the Nets due to coronavirus protocols, and an attack on the capitol threw America deeper into chaos, Irving left the team and still hasn’t looked back, providing no reason for his departure.

Surely, there’s a lot going on in Irving’s head right now, and he’s not currently able to present his best self to his employers. But, by any metric, the videos that surfaced Monday are not a good look for someone going through some form of trauma. Irving appears to have been caught partying for his sister Asia’s 30th birthday, maskless in a large group in West Orange, NJ, in what appears to be a catastrophic breach of the league’s already-failing virus protocols.

Irving is a complex figure, and the league should likely be taking greater steps to protect his fragile mental health, which should’ve been a paramount concern both before and after this video surfaced.

But it’s fair to question the maturity here — especially since we’d all assumed Irving had ducked out temporarily specifically because of the effect the worsening American landscape had on his mentality, from the violence to the rising transmission of COVID-19.

As far as this video shows, though, Irving doesn’t seem to be concerned enough about the second factor.

A thorough breakdown of the video pinpoints it as overwhelmingly likely to have taken place this past week in celebration of Asia Irving’s 30th birthday — a few days after it appears Asia was in a tropical locale, further heightening the travel risk of the whole event.

If and when Irving returns to the Nets, he’ll have to answer a series of extremely tough questions about his time away.

Perhaps he feels if he delays it inevitably, he can simply disappear.