Kyrie Irving appears to break fast for Ramadan during Celtics-Nets game


BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving may have given Nets fans a scare early in Wednesday's Game 2 at TD Garden.

After a timeout late in the first quarter of the Brooklyn Nets' first-round NBA playoff matchup with the Boston Celtics, Irving abruptly left the bench area and headed to the locker room.

Irving wasn't injured, though -- he returned to the court a couple minutes later with food and water in his hands. The likely explanation: Irving was breaking his fast for Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims from April 1 to May 1. During that period, practicing Muslims fast by not consuming any food or water from sunrise to sunset.

Tipoff for Game 2 at TD Garden was at approximately 7:10 p.m. ET, and sunset in Boston was at 7:30 p.m. -- around the time that Irving went to the locker room to get his food, as Bleacher Report's Stephanie Ready explained on the TNT broadcast.

KD shares thoughtful take on Kyrie's dynamic with Celtics fans

Regardless of how Celtics fans feel about Irving, it's pretty remarkable that he's able to perform at such a high level if he's indeed fasting. The All-Star guard dropped a game-high 39 points in Game 1 on Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m. start time) and wouldn't have eaten before or during that game if he fasted for Ramadan.

Irving was asked about fasting on game days after Brooklyn's play-in tournament win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last Tuesday.

"I am not alone in this. I have brothers and sisters all around the world that are fasting with me," Irving said. "We hold our prayers and our meditations very sacred and when you come out here, I mean, God's inside me, God's inside you, God's inside all of us.

"So, I am walking with faith and that's all that matters. When I get a chance to do this, in this type of arena and showcase my talents that have been granted to me strictly from God and I am humble."

Irving would be far from first athlete who has fasted during the NBA season. Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon fasted during Ramadan throughout his NBA career and even won NBA Player of the Month for a month in which he fasted, while Celtics star Jaylen Brown has observed Ramadan in the past as well.

"Ramadan is something special,” Brown said last week. “It’s something that’s saved my life in a lot of ways. So shoutout to all the people who are participating and shoutout to everybody who shows respect because, in reality, some things are bigger than basketball."

Note: Games 2-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

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