You could say that nothing was the same for Kyrie Irving after game seven of this year’s NBA Finals. The young point guard cemented his place in Cleveland Cavaliers history with his dagger three-pointer late in the fourth quarter.
Winning a championship always changes things a bit for a player. But, becoming the first team to overcome a 3-1 defecit and break a 52 year drought for the city is more than a little bit of change.
The three-time All-Star told Cleveland.com just how different everything feels now.
He said: “I never thought I’d be an NBA champion when I was 24 years old. I just had to re-start, regroup and re-prioritise what I wanted to accomplish as a player and also as a teammate, this summer.”
It has been a long time coming for the 24-year-old as he was selected first overall in the 2011 draft. The organisation has been expecting a lot since their decision to take the consensus number one prospect in the nation.
On the biggest stage possible, he outdueled league MVP Steph Curry in the championship round. He posted averages of 25 points, four assists and one steal in the series which included his historic shot.
The Austalian-born point guard has always been known for his scoring ability and dazzling ball handling skills. But, before the return of LeBron James, his exploits went largely unrewarded because of the talent around him.
The past two seasons have been huge moments in the spotlight for him, which he followed up with a gold medal in this summer’s Olympics.
This feat put him in the company of his teammate James, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen as the only players to win an NBA title and an Olympic gold in the same summer. Pretty elite company for the young guard.
Things are different now, but in a good way.