Reimer: Kyrie Irving’s desire to play with Celtics rooted in more than on-court success
There may not be a lurid backstory behind Kyrie Irvingâ€™s desire to leave Cleveland. It doesnâ€™t appear as if his stunning early summer trade request was rooted in vengeance or spite. Instead, Irving seems like a man who wants to prove he can shine on his own.Â
Itâ€™s a feeling most of us can relate to.Â
Irving spoke often about the importance of growing off the court in his introductory Celtics press conference at the T.D. Garden Friday. He referenced the racial violence in Charlottesville during his opening remarks, saying itâ€™s a reminder the world is bigger than basketball. At 25 years old, Irving has already won a championship, captured an Olympic gold medal and been named to four All-Star teams. Heâ€™s already established himself as a great player. But thereâ€™s so much more to life than that.Â
â€œWhen you get drafted into this great league, some of us come in at different ages,â€� Irving said. â€œAs a 19-year-old kid, Iâ€™m starting my first year of college, my freshman year, and life hits. You go to different hotels, youâ€™re in different places, different cities. You have to adjust to what’s going on. It took me a little while to do that. On the court was incredible, but then you start figuring out what is important to you off the floor and how itâ€™s conducive to your development on the floor. You start finding that importance and then it all starts making sense.â€�
For Irving, itâ€™s apparent that importance now lies with breaking away from Cleveland and out of LeBron Jamesâ€™ shadow. He praised James during the press conference, saying it was â€œawesomeâ€� to play alongside â€œone of the greats.”Â But he was also blunt about the state of their relationship. When asked about whether heâ€™s spoken with James since the trade, Irving gave a resounding â€œno.â€� A few minutes prior, he spoke about the silliness of prescribing a teamâ€™s accomplishments to one particular player.
â€œIs there ever such a thing as one person carrying the whole team? I donâ€™t think so,â€� Irving said. â€œThere is no one player. There are some very, very special talents. But I think the teams get remembered more than the players, even though you guys do have some Hall of Famers here â€“â€“ there are a few numbers retired in those rafters. I think the appreciate goes a lot deeper because of that team atmosphere. There is no such thing as putting the team on your shoulders.â€�
In his goodbye to Cleveland on Instagram, Irving didnâ€™t mention the 2016 NBA championship or three consecutive trips to the Finals. In fact, he didnâ€™t reference any of his on-court accomplishments at all. Irving referred to himself as an â€œevolving manâ€� whoâ€™s taking another step in his journey. He echoed similar language at the podium Friday.
â€œMe leaving there wasnâ€™t about basketball. It was more or less about creating that foundation that was made in Cleveland, and now taking this next step as a 25 year old older man and being the best basketball player I can be,â€� he explained.
History will largely judge Irvingâ€™s tenure in Boston on playoff appearances and championship rings. But it seems as if heâ€™ll measure his success with the Celtics with something far greater than that: his personal growth.Â
Full article @ Reimer: Kyrie Irving’s desire to play with Celtics rooted in more than on-court success
Source: GreenStreet Blog