On Tuesday, it was announced that Brooklyn Nets guard, Kyrie Irving is doing his part by making sure the WNBA players that opted to sit out the 2020 season don’t have to worry about missing their paychecks.
The six-time All-Star donated $1.5 million to help supplement the WNBA players, who decided not to play due to concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic or social justice issues.
Per ESPN, The funds will come from the KAI Empowerment Initiative, which Irving started earlier this week. The program which was created by UBS, will provide players the opportunity to learn about financial literature.
“Whether a person decided to fight for social justice, play basketball, focus on physical or mental health, or simply connect with their families, this initiative can hopefully support their priorities and decisions,” Irving said in a statement.
According to the Associated Press, Irving reached out to players, such as Washington Mystics guard, Natasha Cloud, who elected to sit out this season, and Seattle Storms guard, Jewell Lloyd, in which they turned around and introduced him to other players in the league. They would then discuss the difficulties of not playing this season.
Jewell Lloyd and the Seattle Storm were in action on Tuesday night against Minnesota Lynx and would go on to win 90 to 66, as the Storm improved to 2-0. Lloyd would finish the game with 9 points and six assists. After the game, Lloyd’s teammate Sue Bird, who is close with Irving, shared her thoughts on Kyrie Irving’s gesture.
“Yeah, I think Kyrie [Irving] is the kind of guy, he sees outside himself a lot of the time, extremely unselfish, and this is just another example of that. Obviously, everyone sees the big number, you know $1.5 million, and they can get caught up in that,” said Bird.
“To me, what I love about it is the opportunity that all of us, as WNBA players, will have, if we want is to take courses in financial literacy. And that goes beyond just the one-time offering. It goes well beyond that, and I think what he is trying to do is support women, and support the WNBA. Not just now, but long term, and it is admirable.”
For players to qualify for the program, they need to provide information on why they opt to sit out on KAI Empowerment Initiative website.They also have until August 11th to apply, and the results will be released on August 24th.
Irving did not travel to the NBA bubble with the Brooklyn Nets due to having season-ending surgery on his shoulder. To relieve a right shoulder impingement, according to Bleacher Report.