29 July 2020

Basketball star Kyrie Irving pledges $1.5 million to WNBA players who have opted out of the season

Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving has pledged $1.5 million to help Women’s National Basketball Association athletes who have opted out of the current season.

Irving launched the KAI Empowerment Initiative this week which will control the fund. Created by UBS, it provides players with a financial literacy programme and all the money in the initiative was provided by Irving himself.

Players in the WNBA have opted out for a range of reasons including health and social injustice.

And with the help of players in the league, like Natasha Cloud and Jewell Loyd, Irving was connected with other athletes who had opted out to discuss the challenges they faced when deciding whether to play.

In a statement, he said: “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.”

More than 12 players are sitting out the season being played exclusively in the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Irving, himself, is not currently training with the Nets due to a shoulder injury.

The NBA season is returning on July 30.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox