USA Today Sports

Kyrie Irving officially welcomed to Standing Rock Sioux tribe as 'Little Mountain' in naming ceremony

John Tomase
August 24, 2018 - 1:59 pm

Kyrie Irving has always known he descends from the Little Rock Sioux tribe on his mother's side, making him part Native American. But the tribe had no idea until Irving mentioned it in an interview two years ago.

That triggered a chain of events that led to Irving's claims being verified by tracing his lineage back three generations, and on Thursday, elders officially welcomed Irving and his sister, Asia, into the fold. During a Lakota naming ceremony in North Dakota, Irving was given the name, "Little Mountain."

Per ESPN, which attended the ceremony:

Wearing a traditional shirt with ribbons, Irving stood on a buffalo skin and was prayed over by a tribe elder, Vernon Iron Horse. As a drum group played and chanted, Irving was wrapped in a blanket, had an eagle feather tied into his hair along with a medicine ball made of porcupine quills, and had a beaded medallion placed over his head as his name was revealed to him.

Irving's older sister, Asia, was also part of the ceremony and was given the Lakota name Buffalo Woman.

"Our journeys have been directed in so many different ways, but yet we are still standing here embracing each other as if we haven't lost any time," Irving said. "It's really special for me to be here because I lost my mom at a very young age, and I had no idea about the history and how inclusive this group is and what it means to part of the Sioux tribe."

Irving's mother, Elizabeth Larson, descended from the Standing Rock Sioux before being adopted. She died more than 20 years ago, when Irving was 4.