Kyrie Irving won a ton quickly upon his entrance into the NBA.
The Cleveland Cavaliers‘ first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft out of Duke University, Irving was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 2012, NBA All Star MVP in 2014 and won an NBA Championship in 2016 alongside Kevin Love and LeBron James.
Before James, Irving and Love formed their Big 3 with head coach, Ty Lue, Irving was on a young Cleveland Cavs team with notables on their roster like Tristan Thompson, Daniel Gibson, Luke Walton, Antawn Jamison, Alonzo Gee, Omri Casspi and Ryan Hollins.
Million Dollar Question: What were Irving’s early days in Cleveland like?
“Kyrie is a great dude,” Ryan Hollins told me on this week’s episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“Humble, down to earth, cool…if anything like — you know what’s funny, like of all the guys that were in the team, he hung out with Luke Harangody the most. And Like was a Notre Dame guy and some type of ACC connection was there. Like, Kyrie is not big on going with the norm or trying to be cool or popular. He doesn’t mind being outside the box. Cool down to earth. Great dude man.”
Hollins then discussed the difference between Irving’s Cavs and the Cavs team that Irving shared with LeBron James during James’ second stint in Cleveland.
“So, I think Kyrie’s trying to come into his own, he wants the respect that he deserves,” said Hollins.
“LeBron can’t cast a shadow, he [Irving] has a lot of maturing to do as we all have. You gotta think these 23, 24, 25, 26 year old guys casting a big spot so, to be honest I looked at the content and the intentions behind your heart. Who you are versus trying to stunt on somebody because you’re 25 years old and you don’t know any better. But I think the way those two butted heads kind of left a bad imprint on Kyrie. It was bad business. It was some things that LeBron did. You know, Kyrie learned some poor leadership from LeBron and some of the stuff he did and I think Kyrie tried to come into his own in a different way. But very smart, very intelligent you know, really soft-spoken and trying to find out how to be a leader. I DON’T think Kyrie is a natural leader. You know some guys that are like — you see the 7 or 8 year old in the AAU game where he’s putting all the kids in the right spot, and he’s thinking of everybody…that’s NOT Kyrie. I think that’s something that he’s trying to grow and learn and do, and I think he’s handled a couple of situations wrong. I don’t think he’s lied about anything except about the world is flat when he was jokingly, but I think speaking out in the media; that’s a tightrope of a situation when you talk about your teammates. So I think some of those things he’ll admit that he wants to reel back.”