November 23, 2018 / 7:24 PM / 5 months ago

Celtics' Irving says he intends to retire by mid-30s

Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving reiterated his apology for saying “F—- Thanksgiving” on Friday, but he also gave fans fair warning that he won’t be around forever.

FILE PHOTO - Nov 19, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots the ball over Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) in the second half at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Irving, 26, told ESPN after the morning shootaround that he plans to leave the NBA by his mid-30s, in part to get away from the constant attention off the court.

“Once I’m done with this, hopefully in my early to mid-30s, I’m done with this,” Irving responded to a question about whether he might play as long as 41-year-old Vince Carter.

Irving’s Celtics take on Carter’s Hawks on Friday night.

“I love basketball itself,” Irving said. “But everything that comes with it? It doesn’t really matter to me, in terms of my life. I enjoy the game, I enjoy being with my teammates, playing every single day.”

As for the criticism he received for his Thanksgiving barb in response to a reporter after a loss Wednesday night?

“(I) obviously allowed the frustrations after the game to fester into something that shouldn’t be said in a professional setting, no matter what my beliefs are in terms of Thanksgiving and where I come from.”

Irving told NBC Sports Boston that his opposition to the Thanksgiving holiday stems from his Native American heritage. During the summer, he went through a naming ceremony with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Irving, a five-time All-Star, is averaging 22.4 points, 5.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 17 games.

Boston is 9-9 this season. The Celtics return to action Friday as they open a three-game road swing at Atlanta.

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