By Matthew Cunha
Boston Celtics training camp is underway. Only 4 of the current players have spent a training camp under head coach Stevens: Al Horford, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and Jaylen Brown join forces with marquee offseason additions Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Jayson Tatum, and finally Kyrie Irving.
Irving joined the Celtics via a trade that sent 5’9”, last overall draft pick, Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland. The little guy’s heart and passion won over many Celtics fans. It is tough to put into words how much he loved Boston and how much the fans loved him. IT turned a lottery team into an Eastern Conference finalist in just a few years. Isaiah will be forever loved in Boston after playing through his sister’s death and his own oral surgery after having teeth knocked out mid-game to lead the Celtics to a Game 7 win over the Wizards. His 53 point performance in game 2 of that series will be remembered as one of the best playoff performances you will ever see in the NBA.
With that being said, Celtics fans seem to be hard pressed to fully get behind their new point guard. 25-year-old, 6’3”, 1st overall draft pick and NBA champion Kyrie Irving. The quote unquote “underdog” story is gone. Irving has been successful at every step of his career in route to winning a championship already with the hated LeBron James.
Many worry where Kyrie’s head is after being silly enough to request a trade from the world’s greatest player and three consecutive finals appearances. Kyrie is known too many as the guy who thinks the earth is flat. Kyrie denied this thinking when being interviewed by Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. Irving concluded that the comment was a social experiment.
It is going to take all of one game for Celtics fans to fall in love with Irving. His deep range threat, inside scoring ability, and ability to change a game will lure Celtics fan in. In game 4 of this year’s Eastern Conference Finals, the heavy underdog Boston Celtics were a half away from stealing a 2nd game in Cleveland and tying the series. The Celtics had a 10 point lead entering the third quarter. It was Irving, not James, who put the team on his back and led them to a comeback. Irving’ scored 21 points in the third quarter.
Irving will win over fans in clutch situations. In the 2016 NBA Finals, Kyrie was the one who made the shot to seal the NBA Championship for the city of Cleveland. Irving did the same thing in last year’s Christmas Day game vs the Warriors. When doing some research on his clutchness, I came across an interesting stat according to StatMuse’s Justin Kubatko from February 7th, 2017.
The @cavs Kyrie Irving has a scoring average of 6.9 PPG in 18 overtime games, 1.5 higher than any other player in the last 17 seasons.
When the money is on the line, Irving scores.
Kyrie Irving doesn’t like LeBron James. That might be the biggest reason why Celtics fans will love him. He REQUESTED to be separated from the “King:. He wanted to come here and compete against him. He wanted the chance to beat LeBron instead of win with him.
Despite what either of the two say, their was legitimate beef between the two. Irving would not be here if it was not for the circus that is LeBron James. Any Celtic fan will come to a love a guy who had had enough of the constant show that is LeBron James. It was not the story of the Cleveland Cavaliers, because it was always the story of LeBron James. Come October 17th Kyrie & LeBron will engage in some sort of awkward interaction. From that moment on Irving will forever be in hearts of green teamers.
Plus Irving will lead this team to wins and score a lot of points. That helps too.
Matthew Cunha is a producer on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.