More so maybe than ever before, the Team USA experience is about bonding. LeBron James became friends with Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade during his time with USA Basketball and the time where guys didn’t bond over the shared experience is gone.
Kyrie Irving is now one of those players taking advantage of that situation. As Team USA preps for the 2016 Olympics is Las Vegas, Irving spoke about the player he’s most excited about playing with. And his answer was Kevin Durant. Durant, of course, just joined the Golden State Warriors and Golden State is clearly Cleveland’s biggest rival.
“I’ve been a fan of his since he came into the league and even when he was in high school,” Irving said. “It feels like I’ve been watching him for a while. He’s accomplished so much. I’m just a huge fan of his and watching how maniacally he is about his work. His footwork, his jump shot. I’m telling him every time he shoots how pretty his jump shot is. I don’t get to see it live all the time, so when I do, and I get to see him in this setting, it’s awesome.”
Kyrie Irving stopped by to talk with the NBA TV crew about USA Basketball & the 2016 Olympics. https://t.co/JJo27yzjqx— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 19, 2016
Really, this is isn’t a big deal. In the same interview, Irving talked about watching Paul George highlights before sharing the court with George. On this team, Irving will likely be the starting point guard and Durant the best overall player. Both are accomplished NBA stars nearing or in their respective primes.
This is simply Irving showing some respect to a fellow star, which is pretty cool. And it doesn’t mean he’ll want to beat him and rest of the Warriors next June if the teams again match up in the Finals.