Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving received support from numerous NBA players during his eight-game suspension early this season, but none were more vocal than Jaylen Brown.

The Celtics star backed Irving numerous times after Brooklyn suspended the guard for his repeated refusal to apologize for posts linking to an antisemitic film, saying he did not feel his former teammate is antisemitic.

“We don’t want to stand up for somebody in order to not condemn hate speech, but I don’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic,” Brown said. “And hopefully the NBA feels the same way.

“He made a mistake. We understand from an outside perspective how important sensitivity is to not condone hate speech and not condone anything of that nature. It’s sensitivity to the dialect around that.”

Irving and Brown both serve as vice presidents of the National Basketball Players Association. The pair met on the floor for the first time this season during Boston’s 103-92 victory over Brooklyn on Sunday. Irving opened up about his relationship with Brown postgame.

“He’s a brother of mine. Grateful that we have built a relationship off the court,” Kyrie Irving said when asked about Brown’s support. “True warriors when we go against each other. In Boston, we got a chance to get to know each other on a deeper level. So, again, I’m just grateful that we’ve been able to build on top of the very foundation of aligning on us how we live our lives and how we treat people. So good brother.”

Brown took issue with six steps Brooklyn gave Irving to complete before returning from suspension, calling out Nets owner Joe Tsai on multiple occasions.

“Our society has more work to do, including Joe Tsai,” Brown said. “It’s 2022, it takes ten minutes of time to see who these business owners, corporations, etc., who they’re associated with, who they’re doing business with, who they’re affiliated with.”

The Boston guard was referring to Tsai’s company Alibaba, which supported China’s cultural genocide of the Uyghur Muslims, according to an ESPN article citing a congressional report, among other sources. The Celtics star also called out Nike after the company announced they would cut ties with Irving, whose signature sneaker was among their best sellers.

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Brown drew widespread criticism for a Nov. 20 tweet voicing support of a Black Hebrew Israelite demonstrating outside of the Barclays Center. The group was reported to be spewing antisemitic propaganda, and Brown later deleted the tweet and clarified he did not know who they were.

The seventh-year Celtic did not share Irving’s use of the word “brother” when asked about their relationship, but said the two had grown since their time in Boston.

“It’s been a lot of growth and interesting to follow,” Brown said via the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. “Being a teammate of Kyrie, we got into it a lot. We didn’t see eye to eye a majority of the time he was here. And since then it seems like our relationship [has improved]. We’ve been able to have conversations. We’ve been able to talk to each other. We’ve been able to understand where he’s coming from.”

Brown said he did not speak with Irving prior to Sunday’s game. The Celtics star led Boston to victory, finishing with a game-high 34 points after 5-of-5 shooting from 3-point range in the first quarter. Kyrie Irving struggled to find his shooting touch against Boston’s athletic defense, scoring 18 points on 7-of-21 shooting.