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Kyrie Irving speaks out on ‘overload’ as Ja Morant prepares to return from NBA suspension
Kyrie Irving claims Ja Morant has been treated harshly as his eight-game suspension comes to an end with the Memphis Grizzlies star due back on court on Wednesday

Ja Morant is set to make his return for the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets after an eight-game suspension, and NBA star Kyrie Irving has plenty of sympathy for the 23-year-old.

Morant was ordered to stay away from his team after posing with a firearm on Instagram Live while under the influence of alcohol in a Colorado nightclub earlier this month, prompting widespread criticism and accusations of a lack of maturity. Since being suspended, Morant – who returned to the Grizzlies’ facility for practice on Monday – has attended counselling for his behaviour. He was courtside on Monday as his teammates beat the Dallas Mavericks 112-108 at FedExForum.

But Irving, who scored 28 points for the losing Mavs, is no stranger to media scrutiny and believes Morant has been harshly treated for his mistakes.NBA fans respond after Shaquille O’Neal posts worrying hospital picture

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Irving missed games eight games himself earlier in the season after being suspended by former employers the Brooklyn Nets for the “harmful impact of his conduct” on social media after posting about a book and movie which promoted antisemitic ideas. The eight-time all-star also missed more than half of last season after refusing to have a COVID-19 vaccine.

The 30-year-old told The Athletic after the game he sees parallels between himself and Morant.

“I believe any hardship in life builds character,” he said. “When you’re dealing with particular hardships in the public eye, especially with the media being attracted to just keeping up with what we’re doing, or what’s the next kind of grab or story

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