2018: Year of the Kyrie

Photo courtesy of Visions by Jeff/Jeffrey Armstrong

By David Cordova

When NBA fans think of Kyrie Irving, they think of an awesome player that can do plenty of things on the court, such as getting past his defender with a crossover, being a consummate point guard who leads the Boston Celtics to victories, and a flashy player who does the “jelly” layup, which was known as the finger roll.

But Irving is much more than that. He is a humanitarian and a man of the people. You can see that when he greets people in public and also the young fans that adore his play on the court. His generosity was shown when not too long ago, he helped pay a 12-year-old student’s tuition at the Patrick School in Hillside, New Jersey, and also donated money to help keep the small private school afloat.

All in all, it seems as if this year was a good year for Irving. In 60 games last season, he averaged 24.4 points and 5.1 assists per game before being sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury. This season, he is averaging 23.3 points, 6.6 assists and five rebounds per game for the Celtics, who are currently 21-14 and in third place in the Atlantic Division of the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

Kyrie Irving walks into the world-famous Rucker Park in Harlem this summer for the championship game of the New York vs. New York tournament. (Photo courtesy of Visions by Jeff/Jeffrey Armstrong)

On the entertainment front, Irving struck gold this summer when the movie, “Uncle Drew,” was released by Lionsgate Films on June 29th nationwide in theaters. The film, which had an all-star cast of former NBA players Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson and comedians Lil’ Rel Howery, J.B. Smoove, Mike Epps and Tiffany Haddish, brought in $44.9 million in the box office.

This summer, Irving made a couple of appearances in New York City. On August 4th, he came out to the world-famous Rucker Park for the New York vs. New York championship game to see some of the best high school players in New York. On that day, Nike went out to commemorate Irving very well, selling limited editions of his “Kyrie 4,” sneaker.

Earlier this month, on December 17th, Nike Basketball and Position Sports put together the first annual, “Kyrie Invitational,” in which three games (one girls game and two boys games) took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Normally, at a big venue such as the Barclays, tickets would have been sold for admission, but on this date, the event was free to the public, once again showing how much of a humanitarian Irving is.

Also on this date, there was an exhibit showing off pictures, old jerseys from his high school days at the now-defunct St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey, his college days at Duke University, his USA Basketball jersey. There was always a video montage of him & his father playing a game of 1-on-1 inside an empty TD Garden in Boston. The commercial and the exhibit commemorated the new “Kyrie 5,” sneaker, which is now out in stores.

Irving greets a young fan while sitting courtside at the Kyrie Invitational at the Barclays Center on December 17th. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Sweet Sports)

As far as music, Irving showed that he could sing, as he had a song on the “Uncle Drew,” soundtrack called “Ridiculous,” featuring Lunch Money Lewis, which was heard in the movie when Drew and the other characters were dancing to it in the club and also in the closing credits. Also, he was also immortalized on Sheck Wes’ debut album, Mudboy, with the song, which is ironically titled, “Kyrie.” The chorus goes like, “Kyrie, K-k-k-kyrieeee!”

All in all, the year 2018 has been great to Kyrie Irving. He played well for the Celtics, had the No.,1 movie in America for a certain period of time this summer, made a couple of appearances in the New York area for high school events, and showed that he had musical gifts. What will 2019 bring Kyrie Irving? Time will tell. For now, the public must continue to watch him, as the Celtics’ No. 11 does what he does on television on a nightly basis.

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