Kyrie Irving wanted to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, and yesterday he got his wish. The Cavs dealt Irving to the Boston Celtics in exchange for up-and-coming guard Isaiah Thomas, a forward, a center, and a number one draft pick.
When a player wants to leave a team, as Irving did, it’s not uncommon for fans of the team being spurned to be mad and call the player an ingrate. I hope Cavs fans are classier than that when it comes to Irving. He’s still young, and he wants a chance to be, in Reggie Jackson’s immortal phrase, “the straw that stirs the drink.” Irving indicated that he wanted to go to a team where he could be the go-to guy and have a chance to really emerge from LeBron James’ colossal shadow. That’s really not so hard to understand for a player of Irving’s obvious skills and talent.
I’ve always liked Irving, with his flannel shirt personality and willingness to accept a lesser role in a quest for a championship. Cleveland fans will never forget that it was Irving that hit The Shot that put the Cavs ahead for good in game 7 of last year’s championship series — the one that miraculously produced Cleveland’s first professional sports championship in more than 50 years. How can you dislike a player who is a key part of busting up a lifetime of sports futility?
So I say, thank you, Kyrie. Fare you well (except when playing the Cavs).