It doesn’t matter where any of us were on June 19, 2016, that shot from Kyrie Irving was one that changed an entire region.
52 years without a professional sports’ championship, Cleveland was starving for one of their beloved teams to come through in the postseason. The Fumble. The Drive. The Shot. The Blown Save.
Cleveland was always on the wrong end of the fairy tale, but Irving’s shot in Oakland changed the fortune for everyone in the city.
Irving had been with the Cavaliers since 2011, although his rise to stardom began in 2014 with the return of LeBron James. Since then, Irving grew on the court to be able to seal the deal in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Everything he’d done to that point culminated in that moment.
Although his time with the Cavaliers has officially ended with his trade to the Boston Celtics, Irving still deserves to have his No. 2 jersey in the Quickens Loans Arena rafters. Maybe it’s still too soon to talk about Irving and his jersey retirement, but his contributions to the organization shouldn’t be forgotten. Hitting the biggest shot in franchise history means a lot.
Drafted as the heir apparent to LeBron in 2011, Irving has always had a special place in the hearts of Cleveland fans. His crazy ball-handling, finishing at the rim, clutch shot-making was all admirable, even if the Cavaliers didn’t win many games in his first few seasons.
But since LeBron’s arrival, Irving’s been the perfect Robin to James’ Batman and grown even more fond to Cavaliers Nation. His performances in Games 5-7 of the NBA Finals in 2016, only remind us of what the duo can accomplish together.
Although Irving’s time with the Cavaliers was far too short in many fans’ minds, the No. 2 should never be worn again for a variety of reasons.
With the Cavaliers, Irving’s been on the All-Star team four times, won an All-Star game MVP, won Rookie of the Year and most importantly delivered on an elusive NBA Championship.
While many expected Irving to slowly lead the franchise back to relevance after the departure of LeBron, the new Celtic has been one of the best basketball players to have ever sported a Cavalier uniform. (Dare I say the second-best?)
As a result, while it stings to see him in the -- ugly — Celtic Green, we should all be thankful for what Irving brought in his time with Cleveland. The best way to show that gratitude as a franchise is to have nobody else wear the No. 2 jersey that Irving sported for Cleveland.
Editor’s note: I’d like to welcome Akash to FTS. Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter and welcome him to the team.