Kyrie Irving took the NBA All Star Weekend by storm. He participated in events on every day and had people oohing and aahing constantly.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a pretty unfortunate win-loss record. They aren't going to the playoffs. But there are plenty of bright spots on this team. The brightest of said bright spots is, of course, Kyrie Irving. The second year point guard made his first All-Star team, competed in the Rising Stars Challenge, and dominated the Foot Locker Three Point Contest.
Barring the unspeakable, this was just the first of many many many All-Star appearances for the 20-year old superstar. But it was a damn nice debut. Kyrie made it clear that he was there to represent the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland.
Commentators fawned over his every move and he gained the respect of some of the world's best players. Virtually every media outlet published a "holycrapkyrieirvingissogood" article. And I'm here to share some of those with you.
SBNation's very own, Paul Flannery, wrote a fantastic piece about Kyrie and how the future of the league is in his hands. I've had this in the cover of Fear The Sword for the past day or so and you guys apparently don't understand that it's from dotcom and not from me, so you just start making the comment section full of Cavs fans and use memes that nobody else gets. But that's okay, it just shows how big our community has gotten, haha.
Irving spent most of All-Star weekend introducing us to his reality. He was one of the only redeeming things about the Rising Stars thingamijig that was played on Friday night, and his epic crossover against poor Brandon Knight is already a candidate for gif of the year. Kenneth Faired may have won the MVP, but Irving was the show
USA Today's Sam Amick also wrote about Kyrie and the sentiment was the same: this kid is taking over.
His ankle-breaking moves against Detroit's Brandon Knight were the talk of the town on Friday night, and he was the star on Saturday night as well. During the championship round of the three-point contest, and with a jumping James cheering him on courtside, TNT commentator Kenny Smith said on the telecast, "This dude is trying to make a statement, man."
To which fellow analyst and Hall of Famer Reggie Miller replied, "Make a statement? He's just trying to take over the league...The world is yours, Chico."
NBCSports.com's Kurt Helin wrote about Kyrie Irving and the future of the Cavaliers. The general consensus seems to be that something pretty special is growing in Cleveland and it all starts with Kyrie.
"We're really young, we're figuring out things," Irving said. "I mean our starting five, we probably have 10 years of experience, all five of us combined."
But you're not going to grow into an elite team in the NBA without an elite player, and that is Irving. His timing coming to Cleveland was unfortunate in that it was easy to see him as the guy replacing LeBron James. That's not fair to Irving, who is a very different kind of player and leader.
"It's just me trying to be myself, I wasn't trying to replace anybody," Irving said. "I am trying to turn a new page in Cleveland, get the fans excited again, to show the fans we have a lot of hope and are optimistic about this team."
The Cleveland Plain Dealer talked to Kyrie and made note that his impact and reputation around the league are kind of ridiculous for a kid who has barely played a full season.
But the bump to his reputation is priceless. Even Irving admits he's surprised at the impact he's having in just over one full season in the league.
"Sometimes," he said. "I just realize when I'm alone and I'm watching 'SportsCenter' or NBA TV or something like that . . . I do have some surreal moments at times. It's a blessing and an honor to be recognized as one of the great players in the league."
I could go on and on, but a simple google search will give you tons of articles about Kyrie and his first All-Star experience. He's a tremendous talent and a great personality to represent Cleveland. The national audience is gradually starting to realize what we all realized a while ago: this kid is beyond special and we're damn lucky to have him.