BOSTON — Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving had finished talking about the team’s frustrating 117-109 loss to the New York Knicks and was making his way out of the scrum when a reporter wished him a happy Thanksgiving.
Irving thanked the reporter politely, then added that he doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving.
“(Expletive) Thanksgiving,” Irving said.
Irving has embraced his Native American heritage recently. Over the summer, he went through a Sioux naming ritual in South Dakota, where he was given the name Little Mountain. Last season, he tweeted support for the #NoDAPL protestors, who were attempting to keep an oil pipeline from running through their water supply and sacred burial grounds.
Irving confirmed to NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin afterward that his opposition to Thanksgiving is rooted in his Native American heritage.
Other members of the Celtics said they would use the upcoming holiday to reflect.
“We all have a lot to be thankful for,” Brad Stevens said. “We lost a basketball game. We got outplayed. We’ve lost a few in a row. It’s been a tough stretch. I think that we’ll work, and we’ll do our very best. And that’s always been good enough for me. That’s okay. You’re not going to have great days every day in this, and part of this job description is, like I said earlier, weathering the storms. This is a job, and we’ll work to correct everything we can. We’re all so very thankful for all that we have, even on nights like tonight.”