Kyrie Irving is basketball royalty. He was royalty before he hit the game-winning Game 7 NBA Finals shot — the one that every kid the world over practices again and again: “5-4-3-2-1, the shot is up…” For Irving and the Cavaliers, it was good. And Irving’s hoops status went up another notch into the stratosphere. Before that Irving was just a former McDonald’s All-American out of Duke who won NBA Rookie of the Year and became one of only a handful of NBA players to have his own signature shoe from Nike. (Not to mention he’s a heck of an actor!)
But the shot changed everything for the then 24-year-old guard, who says it forced him to refocus and reconsider what his basketball career could eventually become. In other words, how high can Kyrie fly? Yet for all that thinking about himself, Irving has been very smart and mature about his approach. “I just had to re-start, regroup and re-prioritize what I wanted to accomplish as a player and also as a teammate, this summer,” he says. That has to sound awfully good to the Cavaliers organization — Irving’s emphasis on being a teammate.