Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving has a message for his critics
Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is on a tear that few players can achieve. He has scored 90 points in his last two games, including a 57-point explosion against the Spurs that felt like about 80 points.
He has taken the opportunity to be candid about the criticism he’s faced in his career. Last year, there was a lot of talk about Irving being a bad teammate, especially regarding his relationship with then-teammate Dion Waiters.
More from Cleveland Cavaliers
- Predicting NBA’s Christmas Day Schedule: Lakers, Warriors highlight slate of postseason rematches
- NBA Rumors: 3 teams that should trade for Joel Embiid
- NBA rumors: How Donovan Mitchell could wind up on the trading block
- The new NBA flopping rules explained
- 2023 NBA Free Agency: 5 underrated deals that could shift NBA landscape
In an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Chris Haynes, Irving sent a message to his critics.
“My sole reason for me playing this game has never been for attention, it’s never been for approval. The only thing I command is respect,” Irving said. “I just let the proof be in the pudding. I don’t say I’m going to do something; I just go out and do it and then I feel like it just ends up hitting them in the face when it actually happens because they’re like, ‘Well we said this about him but he completely did the opposite and did it way more than we expected.’
“I have a confidence in myself that whether you like me or not, I really don’t care because I’m going to command your respect, especially out there on the floor where you can’t deny me. I was that guy on the cusp trying to fight my way up and I still am. I still feel that way. I’m always going to have that attitude, but in terms of what everybody else thinks, I really don’t care.”
The full interview, in which Irving opens up about last year’s struggles, criticism of his play, and becoming teammates with LeBron, can be read here.
Irving has really come around this year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time in his career. He has become the 1A to LeBron’s 1, increasing his points and assists over last year while decreasing turnovers. With LeBron back on form and Kyrie playing better than he ever has, the Cavs finally look like the powerhouse everyone expected them to be, and with apologies to the Hawks, they’ve become the team to beat in the East.
It’s a long way to come from the team that was below .500 in January, reportedly ignoring their coach’s play calls, and looking like they had absolutely no chemistry. While the NBA world, and thus the Cavs, still revolves around LeBron, they couldn’t have done it without Kyrie, who has finally shown that he’s capable of all the things he believes he is.
More from FanSided
- Joe Burrow owes Justin Herbert a thank you note after new contract
- Chiefs gamble at wide receiver could already be biting them back
- Braves-Red Sox start time: Braves rain delay in Boston on July 25
- Yankees: Aaron Boone gives optimistic return date for Aaron Judge
- MLB Rumors: Yankees-Phillies trade showdown, Mariners swoop, India goes to Seattle