Five Minutes With Kyrie Irving

The Cavs star and new savior of Cleveland talks point guards and Coach K’s softer side.

The Cavs star and new savior of Cleveland talks point guards and Coach K’s softer side.

(Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty)

Kyrie Irving has been shredding defenses, silencing critics and building cautious hope in Cleveland. We caught up with the fleet-footed point guard at Foot Locker’s #WeekOfGreatness kick-off where he debuted his new commercial, which you can catch an exclusive look of below.

We are living in the golden age of the point guard. Where do you think you fit in?

You know, as a point guard it’s definitely changed over the years. I feel like all the point guards coming in are trying to be as complete as they can, so there is no specific type anymore. I feel like I created my own breed as well, I’m not trying to come in and be like Derek Rose or be like Steve Nash. You want to be a combination of all of those guys, that’s what I try to do.

Does Coach K have a softer side that people don’t know about?

Absolutely, he has a golden retriever at his house. In terms of coaching, he is obviously a competitor and he’s one of the biggest and fiercest competitors that I know, because he expects the best out of all his players and all his coaches. He holds everyone accountable, as a great coach should, and what else could you ask for from a coach. But off the court he’s a family man just like anybody else, he’s a normal person. He’s a great guy.

Who is the toughest player you’ve had to match up with?

Well so far it hasn’t been one particular person; last year was Steve Nash, just because of the amount of pick and rolls I had to do with him. But now it’s just everybody, you know you’re up against a great point guard every single night. There’s not one particular person that I look forward to or is trying to get the best out of me. Every point guard has the same mindset.

Besides yourself, who do you think is the most underrated player in the NBA right now?

I’d say Marc Gasol. He’s always in the shadow of his brother. I feel like they both have the fundamentals down but Mark is a bigger body down there and he does different things than his brother. They have two totally different games but he’s always getting compared to his brother and what his brother does.

Who did you model your game after and who did you feel that you most got your style from?

I got my style from my father. He played two-guard at BU and I watched my father play in so many different tournaments in the city and in different boroughs. I got my game from my father and as I got older I started looking at different guys, mostly CP3. I incorporated my dad’s scoring mentality and CP3’s pace and how he saw the game and just kind of incorporated both.

Is this a cool time for you? I know you grew up a Nets fan; you get to go play in their new arena, under Byron Scott who took them twice to the finals.

Absolutely. I lived almost 30 minutes from here, to come back to basically home is an honor. You know, playing in front of my family again is truly special.

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