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Utah rabbi says Kyrie Irving complained about his pro-Jewish sign


A Utah rabbi is claiming that security guards asked him and his group to put down their “I’m a Jew and I’m Proud” signs due to a courtside interaction with — you guessed it — Kyrie Irving.

Rabbi Avremi Zippel, a self-proclaimed die-hard Utah Jazz fan, said he and three others made a point to be at Monday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks to send a message to Irving, the mercurial point guard who previously promoted an antisemitic film on his Twitter account.

“Some of the things that Kyrie said about the Jewish community and about Holocaust denial were vile and disgusting,” Zippel told the Salt Lake Tribune.

During an inbound pass, Irving was standing near Zippel and his group. According to Zippel’s account, Irving said “Nice, I’m a Jew, too,” and pointed out his Star of David tattoo. Irving then allegedly followed up after the inbound by yelling, “Don’t gotta bring something like that to the game.”

In a proceeding timeout, Zippel said his group was approached by security and asked to put the signs away. One of the security guards reportedly told them that they had to remove the signs because Irving “complained about it,” according to the rabbi, who told the Tribune that the signs were not meant to be a political statement, deliberately avoiding mention of Israel and the war in Gaza.

Once the interaction between Irving and Zippel occurred, according to the Jazz, the “next step in standard security protocol” was to ask the fans to take down the signs. The Jazz also denied the claims made by “the part-time employee” that the sign’s content was the reason for requesting the takedown.

“The Utah Jazz Code of Conduct is in place so that games can be played without distraction and disruption,” the team wrote in the statement. “No matter where someone is in the arena, if a sign becomes distracting or sparks an interaction with a player, we will ask them to remove it.

“The issue was the disruptive interaction caused by the usage of the signs, not the content of the signs.

Zippel took exception to the decision, saying the whole thing was “just disappointing” in a thread on X/Twitter.

“Bottom line: there was one person, in a building of 18,000+, that was triggered by the sign that says ‘I’m a Jew and I’m proud,’” Zippel wrote in response to the statement. “Why that bothers him so, to the point that it sparks an interaction, should be the real question anyone is asking.”

The Dallas Mavericks did not respond to the Salt Lake Tribune’s request for comment Tuesday.

Irving was suspended indefinitely by the NBA in 2022 after promoting an anti-Semitic film and literature to social media that was “stuffed with anti-semitic tropes,” according to Rolling Stone’s description of the content.

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