Kyrie Irving reminisces on transition from rookie to leading his own team
Kyrie Irving has come a long way since being selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2011. He initially had the responsibility of being the leader the Cavs to success during his first few years. Then, when LeBron James returned in 2014, he was relieved of those duties as the primary option on offense and instead, played a supporting role to the hometown hero.
Irving eventually won a championship, before deciding he no longer wanted to be the second fiddle. He requested a trade from Cleveland, which happened one month after their title win. He was shipped to Boston, where he now has the opportunity to become the leader of his own team, which was basically what he wanted all along.
Irving has achieved a lot of accolades during his eight years in the league. He won Rookie of the Year and has made multiple All-Star teams. He can’t help but reminisce all the struggles and success he had in the NBA, and he shared his thoughts about them in a recent interview with Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
“Coming into this league, it’s been trial and error. Just from being a rookie and having to ‘quote-unquote’ fill the shoes of LeBron, That was a lot for a 19-year-old kid to be coming into a city like Cleveland where something traumatic like that happens where their hometown kid leaves to go win championships [with Miami]. And here I am, this rookie. Our first year, we lost 26 or 28 in a row and I have to fulfill my own legacy. It was always like I was being compared or I had to live up to someone else’s standards, and I felt like I wanted to go after my own dreams, get my own things. And everything that every great player hit, in terms of great players that came before me, I was hitting. I made the All-NBA Rookie Team, I won the MVP of the rookie-sophomore game, I was leading my draft class in everything.
“I kept getting better every single year. My second year, I went to averaging 22 points and I made my first All-Star Game. I kept hitting every single mark since I was 19. And now that I think of it, I’m in a position where I have a greatness about my game and I don’t ever want that to overshadow the great young players that I’m playing with because it’s a hard thing to accept. You basically have to wait your turn and be patient in this league to be that guy and to earn that right. And I feel like I’ve earned that right thus far.”
Irving earned everything that he accomplished, and now he’s on a mission to achieve something that he never got in Cleveland: leading his own team to a championship. However, it hasn’t been easy for the Celtics guard. He had to go through a lot of struggles and frustrations this season, but it’s starting to pay off. Boston is finally coming together and they’re playing like the contenders people expected them to be. They currently hold the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference, but the Celtics are confident that they can still get things done in the postseason.
Irving and the Celtics cannot go back to correct their mistakes in the past. What they can do is control the present and become a better team as the final stretch of the season progresses.
He may not admit it, but this is a dream scenario for Irving, and he will do everything to accomplish the ultimate goal, which is to bring the championship trophy to Boston.