One year ago to the date Oct. 23, the National Basketball Association (NBA) Brooklyn Nets all-star point guard Kyrie Irving’s grandfather, George Larson, passed away.
Irving told Forbes that the loss of his grandfather took away the mixture of joy and basketball, which ultimately caused his team-change from the Boston Celtics to the Nets in July 2019. Irving had grown up in West Orange, New Jersey, and wanted to find some comfort being closer to home, thus heading for New York and joining up with his friends Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan.
Conversation during the draft season caught fire, as the thought of Durant, Jordan and Irving, 2016 Olympic Basketball Team Members, making the Brooklyn Nets a powerhouse no one could ignore. The trio connected during their time in the Olympics and were inseperable during this past All-Star Weekend, but now have they finally given fans what they want?
The Nets have outlined the big three, in an attempt to anchor down the franchise that is the Nets. Irving was signed to a four-year $141 million contract with the Nets in July 2019, joining his band of brothers.
Irving was dealing with conflicts with younger teammates and the media while on the Boston Celtics, which led to his outburst to reporters during the playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks in the third quarter, when Irving claimed Giannis Antetokounmpo was pushing for fouls and there was bad officiating. Irving obviously had noted that Antetokounmpo finished with a game-high 22 free-throw attempts, and that officiating is the most frustrating aspect of the game but there isn’t much you can do to change it.
This wasn’t the only time Irving had a burst of anger, as on Jan. 12, 2019, Irving fought with Gordon Hayward during a game against the Orlando Magic because Hayward didn’t pass him the ball in the final seconds of a 105-103 loss.
Irving obviously is a very emotional player, but that makes the greatest players, well, the greatest. Family is a value of Irvings, as he has a three-year-old daughter who he must maintain a role for.
To showcase his positive vulnerability and emotions, during when the Nets were playing the Minnesota Timberwolves at home on the anniversary of Irving’s grandfather’s death for his Nets debut. Irving spoke to the crowd on the importance of the day, making big strides in the first of 82 games this season. Irving went for 50 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and zero turns in the 127-126 overtime loss. This is the “highest scoring output ever by a player making a debut with a new team, the highest output by a Net in a home opener and the fifth-highest scoring total in Nets history,” according to Forbes.
The game was no bore, however, as Irving used reverses, 3-pointers, use of the backboard, elite dribbling and use of basic skills. A win would’ve lifted the hearts of New York, for Irving’s sake, but everyday isn’t a winning day. New York will stand up for their next 82 games, and they did, so far.
On Oct. 25, the Nets overtook their fellow New York Knicks 113-109, while Irving put up 26 points in the win and five assists, supplementing Jordan’s 11 rebounds. On Oct. 27, the Nets may have lost 134-133 in OT against the Memphis Grizzlies, but Irving put up 37 points throughout the game.
His consistent fighting nature for the betterment of his ability and his love for basketball is clear: “Basketball isn’t a game; It’s an art form. You master the fundamentals so you can forget ‘em, so you can improvise and just concentrate on what really matters: getting buckets,” Irving said.
What do you think will come of the Irving and his partners during next week’s slew of games?