Kyrie Irving is only 22 and has played just three seasons in the NBA, but it’s hard to remember that when it comes to our quick-to-judge sports culture. Irving has been viewed as the franchise cornerstone for the Cleveland Cavaliers and, as a former No. 1 overall pick and point guard, he’s expected to lead.
“I haven’t been a leader – not at all,” Irving told RealGM’s Shams Charania.
Irving expressed one of the issues that plagues young teams — there aren’t proper examples set for the young players.
“Everybody asks me if this is my year to be a leader … I haven’t been so far though, not at all,” Irving told RealGM. “I’ve just been a kid trying to figure it out. There’s no perfect way to be a leader, and coming in as a 19-year-old kid and having everything bearing on your shoulders, there are a lot of ups and downs. Now it’s about being the best every single day and not being afraid.”
For the first time since Irving has been there, the Cavaliers will be full of veteran leaders who have won. LeBron James, Mike Miller, Shawn Marion and James Jones are some of the players who will bring experience to the team. Irving is looking forward to playing with them and learning from them.
“I’m more than excited with our new veterans. I’m really excited just from the standpoint of how the locker room is going to go and how to really be a professional. I’m not saying that the veterans that we had weren’t professionals themselves, but we didn’t have enough. Given the right and wrong things to do in the league, I’ve had to learn on my own and that’s what some of us been doing.”
Some players are natural leaders, while others develop into them. It sounds like Irving needs to learn how to lead if he’s going to become a leader. For now, being a key supplemental player may be great for his development.
Chest bump to Ball Don’t Lie