It has been a rough season for Kyrie Irving. After being disqualified from home games, he had to sit and watch as the Nets struggled to maintain consistency in a deep and talented Eastern Conference. He also watched as James Harden broke away from the franchise after less than a full season.
On Tuesday, however, there was nothing but praise and celebration for Irving, who dropped a franchise-record 60 points in a win over Orlando.
The fans went wild online, but so did other players, who made sure to shower the star guard in love and support.
The game was a major highlight for Irving, who has played well despite overwhelming challenges. This season, through 18 games, Irving is averaging 25.9 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game on 47% shooting.
"This hasn’t been easy for anybody," Irving said. "I think the more that you guys keep hammering in on this, and then also in public spaces, I’m noticing that people like to make jokes about what’s going on, in ‘half-game’ or ‘half-man,’ whatever it is. My family has to see some of that stuff; my teammates have to see some of that. And like I said, that outside noise creeps in at times, but it doesn’t impact me because I’m used to this. I don’t play these media games. I don’t do this. This is part of my job, but this is not what I signed up for in order to be going back and forth, answering questions about my personal emotions. All I’m doing is trying to be the best teammate, doing my job at a high level. I wish that circumstances were different. But obviously, it’s impacting a lot of people, and I didn’t want this to happen. But it is the reality."
As great as things are for Brooklyn, reinforcements could be on the way. According to multiple reports, Ben Simmons is working his way back and could take the court again before the end of the season.
With all three stars in action, the Nets aren't going to be an opponent any team wants to face in the playoffs.
For now, though, we should just appreciate what Irving is doing and remember that, even despite all that is going on behind the scenes, the guy is still one of the best players on the planet.