For better or worse, Kyrie Irving is by far the “wokest” player in the NBA, if your definition of wokeness is a penchant for challenging everything you’ve ever learned. It’s admirable, in some respects, but Irving has trouble resisting the urge to take that skepticism to its logical extreme, namely with his ongoing crusade against the commonly held belief about the shape of our planet.
But being woke also means being socially conscious and socially active. These qualities also describe Kyrie Irving. So it was only mildly surprising to learn that not only is Irving a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe via his late mother’s side of the family; the tribe is also holding a special ceremony to honor him next week.
The Sioux are doing so partially because of his unique heritage, but mainly for his public support of their quest to stop production of the Dakota Access pipeline that posed all sorts of environmental and health threats to their tribal land and the native people living on the reservation.
The celebration will include a naming ceremony, performances, and community feed at the Prairie Knights Pavilion, a casino in Fort Yates, North Dakota.
“We could not be more excited, he has made us all very proud,” chairman Mike Faith said via the tribe’s release. “To know that he has not forgotten his roots and is taking the time before he starts his basketball season to visit the People, his People, shows that Kyrie has great character and pride in his heritage.”
Irving tweeted his support back in 2016 when the protests were at full tilt and thousands of activists had descended on the lands in North Dakota in an effort to block construction, while more than a million others took to social media to stand in solidarity.
More recently, Irving posted this message to his Instagram last season after undergoing knee surgery, which included his neck tattoo of the Standing Rock seal and the hashtag #StandingRockSiouxTribe.
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The hardest thing to do sometimes is accept the uncontrollable things life throws at you. You try consistently to learn, grow, and prepare everyday to equip your mind, body, and spirit with tools to deal with some of those things, but I feel when those moments arise they all give you a sense of unfulfillment, simply because it puts some of your professional journey and goals on a brief hold. It's simply a test of your perseverance and Will, to be present, even in the wake of what's going on. In this case, finding out I have an infection in my knee is definitely a moment that I now accept and move past without holding on to the all the what ifs, proving the nay-Sayers completely f***ing wrong, and accomplishing the goals I've set out for the team and myself. This season was only a snapshot of what's to come from me. Trust Me. "The journey back to the top of Mt. Everest continues." #StandingRockSiouxTribe Let's go Celtics!! Celtics fans, I look forward to hearing how loud it gets in the TD Garden during the playoffs and experiencing how intense the environment gets. Thank you all!
In addition, Irving’s new signature shoe released earlier this year, the “N7,” features the Standing Rock seal on the heels.