More than 80 players participated in a conference call on Friday night to address concerns over the NBA’s restart plan, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.
Nets guard Kyrie Irving was the leading voice on the call, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While the NBA has solidified key restart dates, a plan approved by player reps last week, Irving has emerged as the most prominent player with major reservations about resuming the season.
Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Donovan Mitchell were among the participants on the call, and numerous players voiced their concerns about finishing the season amid nationwide unrest regarding social injustice and racism, Charania adds.
During the call, one unnamed player texted Wojnarowski regarding some of the issues raised during the call (Twitter link), including playing in the Orlando bubble: “(Kyrie)’s trying to give players a platform to be able to have a discussion — on the bubble, racial equality and unity. … It’s a good call.”
Irving underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in March. His presence in Orlando would only be as an interested observer and to support his Nets teammates.
Irving was an active participant in last week’s call when the reps agreed to the restart plan and only chimed in with mundane questions. Thus, his actions to organize a broader conference call that could change or even halt the restart plan has surprised several of his NBPA colleagues, according to Wojnarowski.
Irving’s stance has pitted him against many of the league’s superstars, most of whom have strongly supported the resumption of the season. Irving seems to be relishing the clash, Wojnarowski adds.