Kyrie Irving has been outstanding for the Boston Celtics in his first season with the team.
Leading the Celtics to an NBA-best 22-4 record to start the year, the 6’3”, 25-year-old star has averaged 23.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 31.8 minutes. His efficiency has been especially outstanding, as he’s shooting a career-high 49.0 percent from the field so far.
Although Irving’s decision to request a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers wasn’t universally well-received, a couple things have remained constant throughout his career.
First, despite his claims that the Earth is flat, he’s a highly-intellectual individual and is well-spoken, often times gracing reporters with useful and provocative sound bytes.
Secondly, he’s a sentimental, emotional guy. Not only has he shown it on the court throughout his career, but he has also been an active member in the community.
Recently, his sentimentality showed once again on his latest pair of his branded sneakers. His “Kyrie 3” sneaker features a rose on the side to honor his mother Elizabeth, who passed away when he was just four years old. The rose is featured on every model of his Nike sneakers, per Nick DePaula of ESPN.
However, the symbol is not the only tribute to his mother on his sneakers.
On each one, “TBY” (the motto “just be you”) is inscribed.
"'Just Be You' is the motto I live by every single day, because I'm happy to be an individual. I celebrate it," Irving said. "I think that everyone should celebrate their individuality. In our culture today, everyone is always wanting to put the other person down for trying something different, or trying something new. As for me, I want it to be celebrated. It's a beautiful thing."
The Roman numerals VIII and XIII are featured near the bottom of the shoe. That’s a testament to his mother’s August 13 birthday. That’s in addition to the name “Elizabeth” imprinted into the rubber underneath it.
But, that’s not all.
Each of the shoes have “H+H” featured, something that Irving also has tattooed on his chest.
"Hungry and humble is something my dad gave me as a kid, that I most likely will give to my daughter, whether she plays sports or not," Irving said. "It's always staying hungry for more and never being satisfied. Acknowledging the present moment, what you've accomplished, and then thinking about what's up ahead and how you'll prepare yourself for that.”
According to DePaula, the “Kyrie 4” shoe will look entirely different, but will feature the same sentimental characteristics as the first three versions.
Therefore, not only is Irving a world-class athlete, but he also seems to be a world-class man as well. Being “humble and hungry” and just being himself has worked out for him so far and thanks in part to his mother’s never-ending example, he has created his own success story.