Hello America, meet Kyrie Irving.
Irving certainly received some national attention last season when he was named the Rookie of the Year and was also the MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge, but he has mainly been outside of the national spotlight because he has been playing for a team with a bad record.
During All-Star Weekend, though, Irving took advantage of the national stage and now has people across the country talking about when he will be the best point guard in the league. He also has the opportunity to keep the attention on himself and on the Cavaliers on Wednesday, when the Wine and Gold play a nationally-televised game against the New Orleans Hornets.
During the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night, Irving scored 32 points while shooting 14 for 20 from the field. He also passed out six assists, had six rebounds and recorded a steal. Most importantly, he had the most memorable moment of the night when he got into a one-on-one exchange with Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Knight. Irving and Knight pretty much played one-on-one on several possessions while the rest of the players on the court watched, and it was the best exchange of the whole game.
Irving had one amazing play during the exchange when showed off his ball-handling skills by crossing over, going between his legs and dribbling behind his back before doing a step-back move that caused Knight to fall while Irving knocked down a jumper. The move brought the crowd to its feet and the clip has become popular online.
On Saturday, Irving showed off his shooting skills by winning the NBA Three-Point Shootout. Almost no one expected Irving to win the contest, but he was smooth and steady throughout and made himself a bigger star with the victory.
On Sunday in the NBA All-Star game, Irving hit several more outside shots and had some perfect passes. He was not the MVP or the star of the game, but he did not need to be. He showed that he fit in with the NBA All-Stars, and he got people excited about how talented he is.
Irving is already becoming known for his clutch scoring, and all of his accomplishments at NBA All-Star weekend are going to add to the hype for this young star.
If the team doesn’t start winning in the next few years, all of this isn’t going to mean a whole lot, but all the signs point to the Cavaliers becoming a much better team with Irving leading the way.
Irving is now a true NBA star, and fans across the country now have more of a reason to watch the Cavaliers and see if they improve. The team has a lot of young talent around Irving, and as the Cavaliers improve in the next few years Irving is likely going to become more and more popular nationally.
On Wednesday night, the Cavaliers will play on national television in front of the home fans in Cleveland, and Irving will have another chance to show everyone just how great he is. After his performance at All-Star Weekend, it’s a safe bet that Irving will be ready to have another big night.