Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving grew up a Nets fan.
“Yo Devin Harris was good for our Nets at one point,” Irving said via Instagram Live on Friday night with his friend, Jeremiah Green.
“Being a struggling Nets fan at one point, oh my goodness bro. All my Jersey people know, before the Nets went to Brooklyn; trying to fill that Continental Airlines Arena up, they were selling three game packages for like $90. They had like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Pacers, the Raptors. You could get it for like $99 and my dad would buy that package of games and I just remember the smell of popcorn. You know?”
Even before the Devin Harris days, Irving, a native of West Orange, New Jersey,a stones throw from the skyline of New York City, 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.
That Nets team that made back to back trips to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003 was coached by Byron Scott who lived in Livingston, NJ; a neighboring town to West Orange, during his Nets coaching tenure.
Scott would later coach Irving earlier in his career with the Cavaliers.
Irving’s dad, Drederick is a native New Yorker from the borough of the Bronx; as is Irving’s godfather, Rod Strickland. Irving spoke vividly about the Nets’ NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003 against the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, respectively. “I just remember the seats,” said Irving.
“I went home from that [NBA] Finals game that I went to. Me and my dad we were up in the nosebleeds bro. I still have the waving white towel from when they were in the Finals. We were up in the nosebleeds. God bless my dad too, man. That dude, he really sacrificed a lot and when he got those tickets and we got to see them play, I went home and I wrote it down on my sheetrock in my closet: ‘I’m going to the NBA.’ It was kinda pre-destined at this point, I believe someways. Did I know it would take me to Cleveland, Boston and then Brooklyn? No. But it did. It’s the beauty of the journey.”
This is not the first time that Irving has spoke reverently about the Nets’ glory days. He has the utomost respect for NBA Hall of Famer, Jason Kidd who guided that Nets team in the early 2000s.
“Not many people have that niche and that feel for the game,” Irving told me after Kidd was hired as the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach in 2013.
“Watching him play was a pleasure.”