Right after the final buzzer sounded, Kyrie ran over to the sidelines to embrace his father. The two exchanged hugs and Kyrie gave him the shirt right off his back. The moment was captured on camera and aired on the TV broadcast.
Kyrie followed up his 50-point outburst on opening night with another show-stopping performance against the Knicks on Friday, pouring in 26 more points including the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute.
The victory pulls Brooklyn even on the season at 1-1 and is an early statement game for the Nets’ New York City takeover. Brooklyn is back in action on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies as they look to make it two wins in a row.
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Kyrie’s New Home
After the win, Irving immediately showed gratitude towards the fans and the atmosphere at Barclays Center during the postgame interview.
“I love this man. This is our home. Our home,” Kyrie proclaimed.
The Nets gave away Kyrie Irving replica jerseys to the first 10,000 fans in attendance on Friday night, seen by some as trolling the Knicks, who missed out on the star guard in free agency. It’s now obvious that Irving has become the heart and soul of the Nets and perhaps is the new pulse of professional basketball in New York City.
His teammates also have his back. After missing the potential game-winning shot in overtime of the season opener earlier this week, Kyrie received immediate support from the entire squad, lifting him off the court both literally and spiritually. It was something that did not go unnoticed by Irving, who knows exactly where he stands in the Brooklyn locker room.
A Fresh Start
Much was documented about Irving’s final year with the Boston Celtics. Kyrie himself admitted he felt he le the team down from a leadership standpoint and was not fully there mentally, due to the death of his grandfather right before the 2018-19 season got underway.
“A lot of basketball and the joy I had for it was sucked away from me, and it was a facial expression that I carried around with me throughout the year,” Kyrie said last month at Nets Media Day.
Earlier this week, one of Irving’s former teammates echoed similar thoughts about Kyrie’s leadership qualities during his final year with the Celtics.
“I don’t want to say fail, I just think mentally he had some other stuff going on and it was hard for him to separate that from the workplace,” said Kyrie’s ex-teammate Marcus Morris, who now plays for the rival Knicks.
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