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Mavs star Kyrie Irving slams load management narrative after NBA takes issue with star players sitting out

ClutchPoints logo: MainLogo ClutchPoints 2/18/2023 Angelo Guinhawa
2/18/23 © Provided by ClutchPoints 2/18/23

New Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving got brutally honest and slammed the load management narrative that has been the center of attention in the NBA.

Of course the NBA is not happy with the current trend of star players sitting out games in order to reduce the risk of getting injured. It has been a big issue since it affects the quality of games that the league showcases. Considering that the NBA is a star-driven league, the absence of a superstar–especially in nationally televised games–is just bad for business.

Remember the Jimmy Butler fan who flew over 4,000 miles to watch a Miami Heat game last January, only to discover that his hero would be resting? Yes, that sucked (for the fan, initially) and it further highlighted the problem with load management.

Now, there have been talks about potentially reducing the number of games to lessen or prevent load management. There are also discussions about tying up the number of regular season games played to the NBA awards just to discourage superstars from sitting out.

Amid all the conversations regarding the issue, however, Irving emphasized that all these talks to solve load management is dehumanizing to players. He pointed out that it’s easy to say for others how many games they should play, but in the end, it is the players who know how they feel and how their body heals. With that said, trying to dictate what they should and shouldn’t do despite the risks to their health comes off “aggressive to him.”

“I don’t know who created the term ‘load management’ or guys sitting out games or this narrative that continues to play on about star players or guys not being available. I don’t know who started the narrative, but it’s completely run amok,” Kyrie Irving shared, per Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News.

I think it’s dehumanized some of us in terms of just the way we prepare ourselves day-to-day. This is a 24/7 job. We have cameras on us all the time. It’s a high-level, combative sport. It’s very aggressive.”

The Mavs guard added that players have different pain tolerance and recovery period when it comes to injuries. Considering that, it’s just unfair to have a certain standard for them when it comes to rest and recovery.

“I just think the narrative needs to change in terms of load management. Eighty-two games is a long season. I’m not saying we can’t do it. We’re in 2023. We have all the technology necessary. We have to use it wisely, and we have to be very communicative about what the plan is for everybody individually,” Irving added.

“Everybody’s body is different. So you may see somebody heal in two weeks, but it may take someone else a month and a half to heal. It’s just different. That’s all. Appreciate the question.”

It remains to be seen how the NBA plan to really address the issue, but as Irving said, Adam Silver and co. will have to take into consideration the position of the players and what they feel is the best way to proceed with it.

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Nish Patel

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