Wednesday 23 August 2017 / 08:03 PM

PLAYOFF PROFILE: KYRIE IRVING

If you’ve noticed a trend in the playoff profile articles I write, it’s that the players meet all three of these qualifications: they are an integral part of their team, are very young, and are absolutely crushing it. It’s only fair we talk about one of the youngest All-Stars in the game right now, Kyrie Irving.

Kyrie Irving was actually born in Melbourne, Australia and is part of the “thunder from Down under” in the NBA along withg teammate Matthew Dellavedova and Golden State’s Andrew Bogut. This might be a record for the most Australians in an NBA Finals, but hey, who’s counting. Kyrie’s parents ended up in Australia when his father moved there to play for the Bulleen Boomers, after playing college basketball for Boston University. Kyrie’s time in Australia was short-lived, moving to West Orange, New Jersey. Irving’s mother passed away when he was 4 years old, and he was raised by his father and aunts. In 4th grade, Irving went on a school field trip to the Continental Airlines arena and said, “I will play in the NBA, I promise.” Good call, 4th-grade Kyrie.

Irving committed to play for Duke in 2009 and played in the 2010-11 season. He would ultimately lead his team to the Sweet Sixteen, losing out to Arizona. He chose to forego his last three seasons and entered the 2011 NBA draft. He was selected as the #1 pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, in what would start the rebuilding period for the team. LeBron James had carried the team through 2003-2010, but decided to go play in Miami and finally win some championships. Irving would win the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

His first All-Star season was in 2012-13, and was nothing short of impressive. He would become the youngest player in NBA history to put up 40 points in Madison Square Garden, beating out Michael Jordan by a year. At 22 years old, he was already one of the best point guards in the NBA. On July 10, 2014, Irving committed five more years to Cleveland by signing a hearty $90 million contract extension.

This deal came in unison with LeBron’s return to Cleveland and Kevin Love’s trade request from Minnesota. This would be the start of a new era for the franchise. Unfortunately, this rebirth has started off a little rocky. The Cavaliers did make it to the 2015 Playoffs, but Kyrie would spend the series on the bench after injuring his knee in Game 1, sitting alongside Kevin Love in the casualty ward. The world learned LeBron’s limits yet again, and that the ‘Big 3’ are only useful if they’re all on the court.

This current NBA Finals series is going to be challenging for Kyrie, as he is going against Golden State’s point guard, one of the best scorers in NBA history, Steph Curry. This series is going to play out differently from last year, as Irving and Love are fully healthy and have had a whole year to get their eyes on the prize.

Some of Kyrie’s most iconic moments happened off the court. In his ‘Uncle Drew’ series of Pepsi Max advertisements, Kyrie dressed up as an old man and go to city parks. In the first episode, Uncle Drew would start off on the sidelines to watch his 6’2 nephew play and hop into the game after a player went down with an injury. Spectators watched this old man hobble onto the court and subsequently ball out harder than most of them have ever seen in person. The video went viral with more than 40 million views. This was not only a huge win for Pepsi, but people finally got a chance to see the playful side of Kyrie Irving. He has become a fan favorite in no time.

[YouTube – Pepsi]

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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