Kyrie Irving has certainly had the opportunity to play with an incredible amount of superstars throughout his 11-year NBA career.
He’s often been in the shadow of his more celebrated teammates, a key contributor but not someone with quite the same level of fame as LeBron or Durant.
While appearing on HBO’s The Shop, Irving talked about the challenges of being surrounded by such well-known teammates:
“Playing with ‘Bron and playing with KD, within our culture, they are true icons, but I had to fill in those shoes that were very uncomfortable for me,” Irving said.
The comments were made during a preview for an upcoming episode:
He went a bit further, explaining how the expectations wore on him after he was drafted:
I was watching the 30 for 30 on ‘The Decision.’ A year later, I was drafted into that Cleveland emotional train of the prodigal son, Chosen One, has left. And here we have this 19-year-old kid –I’m 6’2″, I’m not jumping out of the gym. Emotionally I was dealing with things I had no idea [about], had nothing to do with me. Absolutely nothing. So when I took on that pressure as my own, I started feeling like, I got to bring Cleveland back to the promised land. That was a solo act.Kyrie Irving on being drafted by Cleveland after LeBron left
Irving certainly has had to go outside of his comfort zone at times, sticking up for himself and refusing to bow to the pressure to get vaccinated.
He’s also dealt with the enormous hype that comes from being part of a “big three” arrangement, which might not have been the best fit for his skillset.
Irving’s still managed to put together a remarkable career, and could still help the Nets this upcoming season, assuming he’s not traded.
But it’s an interesting peek behind the curtain to hear that he hasn’t always enjoyed playing with some of the other best players in the league. With the direction the Nets are heading, he might not have to for much longer.