ESPN Magazine recently labeled Irving the next ‘BIG’ NBA star in their issue which has just hit newsstands, and for his part the Cavaliers franchise player has lived up to those expectations, breathing new life into a team – and city – that seemed defeated following the exit of their former favorite son, LeBron James, in 2010. Irving is averaging 22.7 points per game and 5.6 assists for the Cavs so far this season.
In just his second year in the NBA Kyrie Irving is already one of the finest point guards to ever come out of West Orange, New Jersey, but Cleveland’s floor general also has ties back to another country, Australia. For a while Irving had Aussie hoops fans salivating at the thought of a back-court pairing with Patty Mills, but it was not to be.
We caught up with Kyrie for a brief chat prior to the Cavs game at the Barclays Center last night against the Nets for a chat about his health, playing for the Boomers and the chance he may one day play in the NBL.
Starting5: First off, how’s your health so far? You’ve battled a couple of injuries this season.
Irving: I’m doing well. Part of being an NBA player now is getting used to just being banged up from night-to night so I’m used to it. But I’m healthy.
Starting5: Last year you wrestled with a decision as to whether you would play for the US or Australia. People back in Australia really voiced their opinions one way or another, but how close did you really come to playing for the Boomers?
Irving: I was really close. Me and my dad – and my family – we thought about it, and I strongly considered playing for Australia. But, what it came down to was the opportunity to play for the US right now, that would be a better opportunity for myself.
Starting5: Do you speak to the Aussie guys in the League at all? Andrew Bogut and Patty Mills?
Irving: When we play each other. I’ve talked to them a few times.
Starting5: Brook Lopez from the Brooklyn Nets recently said that he can envision a few NBA players finishing their careers overseas. Obviously you’re still a long way from that, but is playing in the NBL something you may consider down the line?
Irving: Australia’s a beautiful place so I wouldn’t mind finishing my career over there.
Starting5: Do you know much about the NBL?
Irving: No, not really. I know my dad got buckets over there though [Note: Drederick played for the Bulleen Boomers who were not in the NBL].
Starting5: Jonny Flynn is actually over there now playing for the Melbourne Tigers
Irving: Oh, really? I didn’t know. That’s nice.
Image courtesy of: Frank Franklin II