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Is Kyrie Irving Native American?

Posted By Jared McKiernan July 31st, 2022 Last Updated on: July 31st, 2022

Is NBA Star Kyrie Irving Native American?

There's been a lot of speculation over whether NBA superstar Kyrie Irving is Native American.

Irving was born in Australia but grew up in New Jersey. The Brooklyn Nets guard has been known to smudge and has even visited the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.

But does Kyrie Irving actually have Native American heritage?



Kyrie Irving and Standing Rock

Kyrie Irving first publicly revealed any affiliation with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe during a Christmas 2016 interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols.

Yet, most people affiliated with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe were unaware of the relation. Kyrie didn't grow up on the reservation, and it had never been made public.  

Kyrie Irving Native American Heritage

Kyrie Irving met hundreds of members of the Standing Rock tribe at the naming ceremony. Adam Sings In The Timber for ESPN

In 2018, Kyrie Irving visited Standing Rock Sioux Nation in North Dakota for the first time. The purpose of the visit, which was strictly off limits to video or photography, was to better understand his Native American heritage. The visit was also to honor his late mother, Elizabeth Larson, who was born into the tribe before she was adopted at a young age.

Kyrie didn't know his mother well. His parents separated when he was very young and his mother passed away when Kyrie was just 4 years old. 

“There was a certain point in my life where I had come almost at a crossroads with my dad, my sister, my friends, my grandparents, and I had no idea kind of what direction to go into because I had lost the sense of a foundation,” Irving said at the ceremony. “Knowing my mom passed and left me such a powerful, empowering family such as Standing Rock … to be a part of it now, this is family for life.”

At the ceremony, Kyrie was given the name “Little Mountain,” or “Hela” in the Lakota language. It's a nod to his roots, which lie in the White Mountain family of the South Dakota portion of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.



Over the course of his career, Kyrie has helped the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, sending them millions of dollars in aid to battle COVID-19 during the early months of the pandemic. 

Kyrie Irving Official Tribal Membership

In August 2021, Irving returned to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, this time to officialize his relationship with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

According to a witness, as reported by KFYR TV, Irving's enrollment application was approved by the tribal council and administration at the Standing Rock Lakota/Dakota Tribal Headquarters. The process, officially, made Kyrie Irving Native American. He was also honored with a star quilt to commemorate his tribal enrollment.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (@standingrocksiouxtribe)

During the trip, Irving also spent time visiting with children from both Pine Ridge High School and Red Cloud Indian School.

Smudging at NBA Game 

Prior to a December 2020 game between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics at TD Garden in Boston, Kyrie Irving was seen burning sage in the arena. He reportedly said he wanted to cleanse the energy at TD Garden, where his former team played. He said he also planned to burn sage before every game that season. “[I want to] feel good about going to work … for my ancestors,” he said, a nod to his Standing Rock Sioux Native American heritage.

Kyrie explains why he practices smudging in the video below. 

Did Nike Release Kyrie Irving Native American Shoes?

On June 21, 2018, Nike put out a version of Kyrie Irving's shoe that had the Standing Rock logo on the back and tongue.

The Kyrie 4 “N7” was part of a special Nike line of shoes that honor and support Native American and Aboriginal people across the world. 

Kyrie Irving Native American Shoes

Nike Kyrie 4 “N7” shoes

Nike's N7 foundation works in partnership with Native American and Aboriginal communities to benefit youth and inspire active lifestyles. 

Conclusion

So is Kyrie Irving Native American?

Yes. He officially became a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota in 2021, cementing his relationship with the Indian Nation. 

 

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