It raised a few eyebrows when cameras caught Kyrie Irving walking around the parquet floor of the TD Garden Friday night burning sage in what is a Native American purification ritual.
It didn’t phase Nets players, they had seen it before.
“That’s his thing. I mean, Ky probably sages his room before 2K at home,” Kevin Durant said in a walk-off interview on ESPN2 following Brooklyn’s 113-89 preseason win over Boston. “So, that’s just what he does and I think that gives us good energy. He does that in the locker room. That’s his thing, and we all respect it, and we respect his methods.”
“It just comes from a lot of native tribes,” Irving said after the game, via the Associated Press. “Just cleanse the energy, want to make sure that we’re all balanced.”
Irving was welcomed in as a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe a couple of years ago. His mother, Elizabeth, had been a member of the tribe.
Called “smudging,” the burning of sage is a purification ritual in some Native American tribes, designed to remove negative energy from a space. Irving added his goal is to do this sage-burning cleansing ritual before every game, home and road, where it is allowed.
“It’s for us to stay connected and for us to feel good about coming to work,” Irving said.
Irving scores 17 points in the Nets win, his first game back in the TD Garden. Irving had a rough final season in Boston and did not seem a fit with the city, but did not play in the Nets games there last season due to injury.