NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving will visit the Standing Rock Indian Reservation next Thursday for what the tribe is calling a "homecoming."
According to the announcement released Friday, the current Boston Celtics guard and former NBA championship-winning teammate of LeBron James is Lakota. Irving's mother was adopted off of Standing Rock as a young girl. The tribe says Irving’s roots run deep on the South Dakota side of the reservation’s borders.
“Kyrie’s late mother, Elizabeth Ann Larson, was adopted out of the Tribe when she was a child. Kyrie’s grandmother is the late Meredith Marie Mountain, who is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Kyrie’s great-grandfather is Moses Mountain and great-grandmother is Edith Morisette-Mountain.”
A spokeswoman for the tribe said in an email this will be Irving's first visit to Standing Rock. The statement says his Lakota heritage has not been unfelt by Irving.
“Kyrie has long known about his heritage and connection to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and was an active supporter of the NoDAPL movement,” the tribe’s statement reads, referencing the acronym for the mass protest along the Cannonball River against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
A recently released Nike basketball sneaker, the release said, was designed to honor water, SRST, and his mother. He also has a Standing Rock tattoo on his neck.
“To know that he has not forgotten his roots and is taking the time before he starts his basketball season to visit the People, his People, shows that Kyrie has great character and pride in his heritage,” Chairman Mike Faith said.
Irving was born in Australia while his father, Drederick Irving, played basketball professionally abroad. His mother died while he was still a child, and Irving grew up in New Jersey.
The celebration begins Thursday at Prairie Knights Pavilion at 9 a.m. and will include a naming ceremony, performances, and a lunch. The public is welcome to attend.