Ryan Hollins: Kyrie Irving's Plan Is Not Farfetched

Irving reportedly wants NBA players to start their own league

Zach Gelb
June 17, 2020 - 8:13 am
Kyrie Irving Nets

USA Today Images


Kyrie Irving has made some outlandish statements to the media in his career, but a comment that he reportedly made in a private chat is raising eyebrows. Irving allegedly told Nets teammates in a group chat that the players should form their own league.

That’s crazy, right? 

Well, according to former NBA player Ryan Hollins, not really.

“I wouldn’t say this is farfetched,” Hollins said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Here’s the reality. You look at the players and go, ‘They’re rich.’ But what you don’t look at is the owners and see wealth – generational wealth. There’s no NBA without the players. So the concept of Kyrie saying, ‘We could bring our riches to the black and brown community and start a new NBA and change the structure of wealth,’ that’s what Kyrie is thinking about.”

Now, however, might not be the best time for that.

“I think that’s a proposal that’s some years down the line,” Hollins said. “I don’t think now specifically is the time to do it, but I understand the concept. When you’re making someone billions and you make millions – yes, you’re happy to have millions – but then you understand that, ‘Hey, we can make the millions and the billions and keep the money within our community and still have a fine product.’ So I think Kyrie is looking at forming change through a different level. Like I said, I don’t think now specifically is the time, but I understand it.”

Irving, 28, does not support continuing the 2019-20 NBA season in Orlando and has reportedly urged players to boycott the bubble and instead focus on racial justice reform.

Few people, however, took Irving seriously.

“I think what’s really sad is Kyrie has been pegged as this bad guy,” said Hollins, who played with Irving in Cleveland. “I remember him as a young guy. He’s a good friend of mine. He’s one of the most intelligent, humble, down-to-earth guys that I know, and he’s gotten a real bad rap. He’s said some silly stuff in the media, and this leadership thing with him hasn’t gone particularly well. But I know Kyrie is a good guy. I fully understand where he’s coming from because he really wants to make a change. I don’t think we’re hearing perfect statements from a lot of these guys. You hear some emotional outbursts, but you have to think about the pain that’s been caused from systemic racism and police brutality.

“I don’t want to just shoot down Kyrie,” Hollins continued. “I don’t think there’s one perfect answer in these moments. I would hope that the support would be there. But trust me: I get how tough this is, and I understand what he’s saying. We just haven’t heard it in clarity.”