The newly minted Smoothie King Center was nothing short of exciting during the NBA’s 63rd annual All-Star game. Way more electrifying than Saturday evening’s struggle-fest of events.
And it had nothing to do with the four days of hype about LeBron James’ Mount Rushmore, competing in the slam-dunk contest or his one-on-one dual with Kevin Durant. The night actually went great because of players like Kyrie Irving.
But for fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the entire thing must have played out like watching a rerun of a scary movie. One that ended with the team owner —Dan Gilbert— releasing a scathing letter about James, which he recently told the Akron Beacon Journal that he would have simply “reworded.”
For starters, the last person to win the most valuable player award in New Orleans was James in 2008. He’s also the last Cavalier to take home the All-Star game MVP trophy, before Irving. Then, the King left for South Beach two years later.
And the fact that Irving was the second youngest player (21 years, 10 months) to win it probably didn’t help the morale in Cleveland either — seeing as the youngest person to hoist it was James (21 years, one month) in 2006.
Which is why ESPN’s Michael Wallace thought that LeBron’s advice on how he should hold the trophy was “probably one of the only examples from James that Cleveland fans want Irving to follow.” Especially when there have been whispers of the point guard looking for a way to opt out of Ohio.
That would be two No. 1 draft picks looking to seek refuge, elsewhere, and a deathblow to Gilbert’s reign over the Cavaliers. Particularly when Kyrie was supposed to be the guy that helped bring LeBron back to Cleveland, since he’s on the sunny side of Dwyane Wade‘s decline.
So for as much fun as the weekend was, it was most likely followed by a Monday of sour memories — and hope from a few big city fans that Irving would want to return to his hometown and play for the New York Knicks.