Kyrie Irving is now a member of the Brooklyn Nets.
Brooklyn will sign Irving, a point guard who has played for the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, to a four-year contract worth $141 million.
A West Orange, New Jersey native, Irving grew up liking the then-New Jersey Nets when they ran the NBA’s Eastern Conference during the days of Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson.
Irving was a fan of Kidd.
“Watching him play was a pleasure,” Irving told me of Kidd when he was hired as head coach of Brooklyn back in 2013.
“His IQ. Just watching the way he plays the game. Not many people have that niche and that feel for the game.”
As a kid, Irving watched that Nets team make back to back trips to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. Ironically, the Nets were coached by Byron Scott who lived in Livingston, NJ; a town next door to West Orange.
Scott would later coach Irving earlier in his career with the Cavaliers.
In an Instagram video today, Irving explained that he is joining the Nets because “home is where my family is. Home is where my legacy will continue.”
“I’m happy to be in Brooklyn.”
With a homecoming of sorts, you’d think Irving would be out celebrating.
Oh contraire mon frere.
“I’m not celebrating today, I’m resting,” Irving, the new Nets point guard told both Brett Carroll and Charles Daye on the the D.O.P.E. in his first interview since joining the Nets.
You can check out the conversation where Irving called in at the 25 minute mark of the podcast:
For those tardy to the party:
D.O.P.E. is an acronym that stands for: Discussing Other People’s Excellence.
When asked by Carroll and Daye his first reaction since joining the Nets, Irving was at a loss of words.
“Wow, Wow,” said Irving.
“It’s been a long free agency, it’s been a long ride.
“Set the world on fire.
“Nets fans around the world unite.”
Irving’s NYC and hoop ties run deep.
Irving’s dad, Drederick is a native New Yorker from the borough of the Bronx; as is Irving’s godfather, Rod Strickland.
They both grew up in the Mitchell Houses in the South Bronx.
Irving’s father played basketball at Boston University and ironically had a tryout with the Celtics, Irving’s former team before opting to play overseas basketball.
Strickland saw Kyrie Irving dribble a ball from time to time in the backyard and used to tell Drederick Irving, “He’s going to make you some money.”
The first time Strickland saw Irving play in an actual game was when he was in high school when ironically he played in LeBron James’ camp, where Irving put on an absolute show.
“My first eyes on Kyrie as a hooper, I saw him play in Springfield, Massachusetts,” Strickland told me last summer on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“He made passes, but he was such a gifted scorer and ball-handler that he could put the ball in the hole. But I knew he was special right away. There are some things that everybody’s not doing, so when I see somebody play with both hands, the way he was playing with it in high school, that’s special. You don’t see that a lot.”