All-Star MVP Kyrie Irving Talks Uncle Drew and Growing Up on Streetball
The baller’s team is about to get a little bigger.
We sat down with Kyrie Irving and Pepsi’s “Uncle Drew” event during All-Star week, where they debuted several new spots teasing the addition of a center to the Uncle Drew team, which already features Nate Robinson, Maya Moore, and Kevin Love. Check out the interview and the teasers below.
Let’s talk a little about what the Uncle Drew campaign has brought to you. As a player you are a kind of a guy who doesn’t do too much talking on court and just do your thing. Is this your way of having a little fun?
Yeah, I guess you can say it’s sort of my alter ego. There are things I want to say to guys, but I’m out there on the court with more of an old-school feel. I’m still being myself but it’s just more fun, especially when we go to different courts. The last two guys have really tried to go hard at me, which I’ve really appreciated. It makes the content that much better, it brings the best out of me when guys want to play at their best when we’re filming me dribbling. From a standpoint of the relationship that me and Pepsi Max have built over the last two and a half years, it’s just been awesome and we just continue to grow, and I don’t think either one of us coming together with this campaign thought it would be this big. And it’s been great from a marketing standpoint, and great for getting my nickname, Uncle Drew.
It feels like you’re running out of places where people aren’t going to know that you’re Uncle Drew. Has that helped or hurt the fun part of it, and also the campaign part of it?
For me – no. I get enjoyment seeing the way my teammates react. Having me, Maya [Moore], Kevin [Love], Nate [Robinson], and now Otis – you get a whole other side of their personality that you really don’t get to see as often as you would like. I mean fans, the connection that they have with Uncle Drew, you know going to the park and now you’re looking for that old guy, or that old woman now, that’s just ballin’ – you know, gettin’ buckets – and that’s what it’s about. It just comes from whatever you want to say out there on the floor, talking trash and enjoying the game. I feel like people are a little afraid to talk trash now, I don’t know why. Back in the day when I used to watch with my dad, guys were competing but also talking trash with one another, and that’s what makes the game fun. It brings the best out of people.
So I want to talk a little X’s and O’s. You have the big man up top, obviously; what kind of offense are you looking to play with the other four Uncle Drew teammates?
I mean I’m not really a big X’s and O’s guy, but if you want to go there, I’m more of a space-the-floor type of coach: Five out, zero in, and that’s the way we play basketball, screen and roll here and there, pocket passes everywhere, it’s what it’s about.
On a more serious note, what has streetball meant to you?
It’s what I grew up on. I mean I would spend hours going to different parks, whether it was in my neighborhood or my dad’s neighborhood, and just going there and challenging everybody. That’s what brought the competitive spirit out of me – going to different places and not being afraid to play anyone or anybody whether they were older or younger. I always had the same mindset that I just want to destroy you.
Did it mean something special to start it in New Jersey where you were from? That was the birth of the Uncle Drew.
Yeah, it was fun. And actually my best friend who’s here, he was part of the first one as well. He was Coach Kevin, who convinced everyone on the court that it was a documentary about him. And like I said, the response that we got has just been spectacular, it’s just continued to grow, and I’m looking forward to making this fourth one possible.
And one last question, what’s next for Uncle Drew?
I mean, Uncle Drew went to Otis’ aunt’s house, and I guess he took his passport this time. I’m also looking forward to seeing where Drew goes next.