It’s been a great year of basketball for Kyrie Irving. He returned from an ill-timed injury last season to help his Cleveland Cavaliers capture the NBA title.
Now, after a slew of injuries and his fellow players taking themselves out of the running, he is the starting point guard for Team USA.
This kind of luck is no outlier for the young point guard as he was injured at Duke during his freshman campaign and limited to 11 games. Even with the injury questions, Uncle Drew was still selected at number one overall by the Ohio club.
His fortunes could bode well again as he competes to become the fourth player in history to win an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal in the same year.
A big part of what put Irving in this position to further etch his name in the history books is head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Coach K persuaded the former All-Star game MVP to become a Blue Devil and then he encouraged him to join America’s team rather than play for Australia. Irving was born there and spent the first two years of his life away from America.
USA Basketball’s point guard told Yahoo Sports: “It was a legit thing, until Coach K intervened. He strong-armed me. As a young fella, he did tell me I had a chance to be a part of something bigger than myself.”
Sure, Irving would have been the focal point of the Australian team and undoubtedly their best player. But, when looking across the way at the juggernaut that the U.S. team has become again, his decision makes all the sense in the world.
The 24-year-old guard now holds the reigns of the undoubted favorite at this year’s Games in Rio. If his track record is any indication, the group should come out looking golden.