After winning the NBA Finals in 2016, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James returned to Cleveland to be praised for bringing the city their first NBA championship. Less than a year and a half later Irving is playing for the Boston Celtics after requesting to be traded that summer. It was a shocking story at the time, one that left many fans puzzled as to why Irving would want to play against his former teammate and best player in the world, LeBron James.
Before Wednesday night's game, there were reports that the Cavaliers had tried to move Irving in a three team trade prior to his trade to Boston. In that deal, the Cavaliers would have received Paul George and Eric Bledsoe, the Suns would land Irving and Channing Frye, and the Pacers would get the number four pick in the draft. The Suns refused to trade that draft pick and Irving ended up requesting to be traded about a month later. In light of this information, we can ask the same question from the summer: was Kyrie right to ask to be traded?
Since high school, Irving has been consistently challenging himself. After being a star player his sophomore year in high school, he transferred to St. Patrick’s, a private high school known as an assembly line for basketball stars. Once he proved himself there, he attended Duke and was later drafted first overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Fast forward to the 2016 NBA Finals, with his team down 3-1 in the series against the Warriors. and they managed to come back to force a game seven. When the game and series was on the line, Kyrie hit the game-winning shot over two-time MVP Steph Curry in game seven.
Competition and challenges are in Irving's blood, especially when he steps on the basketball court. After hearing the trade rumors, Irving saw his next challenge as starting fresh on a new team. Think of it as Simba growing up with the King, then leaving with Timon and Pumbaa to grow and become the next lion king. That’s Irving going to Boston with Gordon Hayward and Al Horford to grow and become the king of the east. Simba Irving does have one issue: Mufasa (LeBron James) doesn’t die in this movie. Kyrie might have to sing Hakuna Matata a couple more times to finally reach the apex he continues to shoot for.