Kyrie Irving is a complicated, if not polarizing, dude.
He’s declared war against the media, opened fire at former teammate LeBron James, and once upon a time was a vehement flat-Earther. But despite his shortcomings, he’s also used his tremendous wealth and resources to provide $1.5 million in financial assistance to WNBA players who opted out of the 2020 season over concerns about the coronavirus and partnered with Feed America in March to “to help families who are struggling to put meals on the table amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It’s obvious that generosity is important to the six-time NBA All-Star, and his latest act might be one of his most noble yet. Shams Charania of The Athletic has revealed that on Dec. 10, the Brooklyn Nets guard informed nine students at HBCU Lincoln University that he would be paying off their tuition as part of his foundation’s 11 days of giving.
“I’m grateful for all you young leaders,” Kyrie told students in a video published by his KAI Family Foundation. “I wouldn’t be sitting in my position and embracing who I am without knowing where I come from and people helping me along the way, so just paying it forward. I’ve committed to my service a long time ago and I’m walking the steps now and I want the same for others.”
Founded in 1854, Lincoln University was the first degree-granting HBCU in the country, according to its website. It’s accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and offers academic programs in undergraduate study in the arts and sciences, as well as graduate programs in human services, reading, education, mathematics and administration.
Some of its notable alumni include Thurgood Marshall, the first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice; Langston Hughes, world-renowned poet; and legendary soul and jazz musician Gil-Scott Heron.
This was a beautiful gesture by Kyrie and the type of thing that doesn’t get enough coverage by the media. But shoutout to him for paying it forward and doing his part to empower the next generation of Black excellence.