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Playing while Fasting: Kyrie Irving Leads Team to Victory

Irving told TNT reporter Jared Greenberg that his energy to produce a strong outing on Tuesday night stems from him embracing his “journey with God.”

For a fasting athlete playing on an empty stomach, what Muslim basketballer Kyrie Irving achieved in his Brooklyn Nets win over the Cleveland Cavaliers is highly remarkable.

Though he did not drink water or eat for long hours, he scored 34 points and had 12 assists while leading his team to a 115-108 victory.

“I am not alone in this,” Irving said, in his postgame interview with TNT’s Jared Greenberg about playing with an empty stomach during Ramadan, SI.com reported.

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“I have brothers and sisters all around the world that are fasting with me. 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.

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“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.”

Fasting Athletes

Irving is not the first NBA Muslim player to play while fasting Ramadan.

Hakeem Olajuwon used to play through the postseason with his Houston Rockets during Ramadan. More recently, Enes Kanter sought advice from Olajuwon on how to play while fasting.

In football, many Muslim players excelled while fasting Ramadan in their teams.

Earlier this month, Real Madrid’s Muslim star Karim Benzema was fasting all day before feasting on Chelsea’s defense and scoring a sensational hat-trick.

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Hijri Islamic calendar.

From dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations).

This year, Ramadan started on April 2, in the middle of a busy sports schedule in Europe and around the world, where many practicing Muslim athletes play.