It’s safe to say that Cleveland Cavaliers fans at Quicken Loans Arena will be booing very loudly when Kyrie Irving’s name is announced in the starting lineup for the Boston Celtics in the season opener on October 17.
Famously requesting a trade away from the Cavaliers earlier this summer, Irving went from bring a beloved figure in Cleveland to perhaps Public Enemy No. 1.
On Wednesday, Irving added even more fuel to the fire with his comments before Boston’s preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets, making it very clear that he already prefers playing in Boston over Cleveland.
“I just moved in to a whole new place, I’ve been there a month or so. I’m becoming very well acclimated to what is going on; our schedule and how it best fits for me to be the best I can be,” Irving told reporters prior to the Celtics’ shootaround, via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “I’ll have enough off days to figure out the city.”
“It’s exciting to be back on the East Coast,” Irving said. “It’s fast-paced. A lot of different cultures, food, and people. You get it all, especially in Boston. I was talking to my best friend the other day: It’s a really major city. Coming from Cleveland, the Midwest, where the culture is different. And then you move to the East Coast — into Boston — and it’s so real [and] alive. An ongoing, thriving city. Consistently. No matter what hour throughout the night.”
Therefore, the two cities couldn’t be more different in his mind. But, keep an eye on what he said next:
“You would go to Cleveland, and it would be at nighttime, and things would be going on, but you just see a vast difference in terms of what the Midwest is — Cleveland — and what Boston is. Boston, I’m driving in and [thinking], ‘I’m really playing in a real, live sports city?’ And a great city,” he stated.
While Boston has traditionally been regarded as a true sports town, the Cavaliers and Cleveland Indians have kept that city on the map in recent years. But, Irving seems to prefer the hustle and bustle of his new city much more.
It’s important to note that it’s very possible that Irving’s words are coming off harsher than intended. Shortly after his trade was finalized, he posted a heartfelt thank you note to the city of Cleveland on his Instagram.
In part, the caption reads:
“My love extends way beyond the court I have for Cleveland and it will always be a place thats special because of the great people and experiences. The Ups and downs, we stand and fight no matter what the circumstances are, and that's what being in Cleveland embodies, it is all Love and a whole lotta pride. To the incredible individuals I've met who support the Cleveland organization and help allow us as Players to feel a special bond to the State/City and shared countless moments with, keep being YOU and know that my appreciation is eternal. Thank you From my whole being for being there as I was a 19 year old kid coming into the league, to now where I start another step in the journey as a 25 year old Evolving man. It will Always be Love and respect Cleveland.”
In Wednesday night’s game, Irving had his best outing as a member of the Celtics, posting 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, along with five rebounds, 10 assists and a steal in 27 minutes.
In a game with layers of storylines, Irving’s greeting by the Cavs crowd will be the first must-watch event in the season opener. Based on these comments, the decibels of boos might increase.