Kyrie Irving Commits $1.5 Million For WNBA Gamers Skipping 2020 Season

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NEW YORK (AP/CBS) — In a transfer that even Celtics followers would applaud, Kyrie Irving is ensuring WNBA gamers can sit out the season and never stress a few paycheck.

The Brooklyn Nets star — and former Celtics level guard — is committing $1.5 million to complement the revenue of gamers who select to not play this season, whether or not it’s due to coronavirus considerations or social justice causes.

The funds will come from the KAI Empowerment Initiative that Irving launched Monday. It’s going to additionally present gamers with a monetary literacy program created by UBS.

Irving mentioned that with the assistance of WNBA gamers Natasha Cloud — who selected to take a seat out — and Jewell Loyd, he linked with a number of WNBA gamers who mentioned with him the challenges they confronted in deciding whether or not to play. The season started Saturday and might be performed completely on the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

He determined to assist with the monetary burden in a league the place the highest annual wage is a bit more than $200,000.

“Whether or not an individual determined to battle for social justice, play basketball, concentrate on bodily or psychological well being, or just join with their households, this initiative can hopefully help their priorities and choices,” Irving mentioned in an announcement.

Gamers corresponding to Cloud and Atlanta’s Renee Montgomery opted towards taking part in for social reform causes, although it’s unclear what number of will qualify for Irving’s program.

To be eligible, gamers should present perception into the circumstances surrounding their resolution and never be receiving wage help from some other entity. An opt-out for medical causes should be linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gamers can get info at www.kaiempowermentinitiative.com. They should apply by Aug. 11 and recipients might be notified on Aug. 24.

Irving is just not with the Nets for the restart of the NBA season as he recovers from shoulder surgical procedure. He has been outspoken about social justice points and just lately produced a TV particular calling for motion within the loss of life of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician who was shot eight instances in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 13 by plainclothes officers serving a narcotics search warrant with out knocking at her residence. No medication have been discovered.

WNBA gamers wore Taylor’s identify on their jerseys throughout opening weekend.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Related Press contributed to this report.)

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