Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving says that he plans to burn sage prior to every game this season to honor his Native American heritage, in a ritual also known as “smudging”, as he did on Friday night prior to the Nets preseason finale against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
“It just comes from a lot of native tribes,” Irving said of the ritual, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “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.”
“That’s his thing. Kyrie probably sages his room before he plays 2K when he gets home,” Nets teammate Kevin Durant said. “That’s just what he does. That gives us good energy. He does it in the locker room. That’s his thing, and we all respect him. We respect his method, and he comes out here and plays extremely hard for us.”
Irving also talked about his return to TD Garden, where he played as a member of the Boston Celtics prior to joining the Brooklyn Nets in free agency last year.
“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.”