Kyrie Irving pulled up and launched a prayer in the final minute of overtime against the Sixers on Christmas Day. The Celtics were up one point and had no reason to hoist up that kind of look just four seconds into the shot clock.
But Irving did it. And sunk it. Because, after all, he is the president of making shots iconic for him that would otherwise be terrible for anyone else.
Irving had 40 points in the Celtics’ 121-114 overtime win, and was the star of the show in a game that included a bunch of them.
This is what the Celtics got when they dealt fan-favorite Isaiah Thomas for him a year ago. When healthy, Irving’s rarely disappointed on the big stage. Boston looks like a huge winner for that move.
Kyrie Irving is a never-ending highlight reel
Irving probably won’t ever win an MVP award, since he’s a one-sided player who does all of the scoring and little defending. But he’s sure built an empire on it.
All of Kyrie’s money is made for what he does with the ball in his hands. Will he cross someone up? Will he leap up for an awkward-angled pass? Will he drain a deep-three with a hand in his face? Who knows!
Look what happened when one of the world’s best defenders, Jimmy Butler, tried to lock him up in crunch time:
Uncle Drew sends it to OT!!! pic.twitter.com/sWcFYQ2MwW— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 26, 2018
How about when Ben Simmons and Butler tried to close his path to the hoop:
Even at times when defenders were able to maintain Irving’s pace with the ball, he found other ways to come through:
Kyrie with the rare underhand lob. pic.twitter.com/rAUSXiaNTO— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 26, 2018
Irving is the player we all want to be. But we aren’t.
A well-rounded game isn’t always pleasing on the eye. It’s why Kawhi Leonard’s name isn’t included enough in MVP conversations even though he might be the best all-around player in the league.
But what Kyrie does with the ball is what fans dreamed of doing a kid.
Irving is one of the few players in the league who’s allowed so many fancy dribbles without really moving anywhere. (The rest of the list includes James Harden, and that might be it). He might have the greenest light on Earth to shoot the ball. It’s what every basketball player wants, but few earn.
He’s proven time and time again that he has a knack for this, especially on the league’s biggest stage. He thrives in stretches that don’t make sense, on moves others shouldn’t even try, while taking shots that nobody else can make. He’s why fans pay then extra few bucks for a ticket.
Kyrie Irving might not be the NBA’s best talent, but he sure as heck might be the most entertaining.