Kyrie Irving reveals how Dallas Mavericks transformed his fortunes after tumultuous tenure with Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving reveals how Dallas Mavericks transformed his fortunes after tumultuous tenure with Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving reveals how Dallas Mavericks transformed his fortunes after tumultuous tenure with Brooklyn Nets

Over his three-and-a-half-season tenure with the Brooklyn Nets, superstar guard Kyrie Irving garnered a reputation for being one of the NBA's most mercurial players. However, Irving has gradually shed that narrative since being traded to the Dallas Mavericks at last year's trade deadline. On Sunday, he touched on what's gone into his recent success.

After joining Brooklyn in 2019 free agency, Irving's tenure with the franchise was hampered by a combination of injuries and off-court incidents. That includes his decision not to get a COVID-19 vaccination despite New York City's 2021 vaccine mandate, which forced him to miss 35 home games.

Additionally, in 2022, Irving was suspended for eight games for sharing a link to an antisemitic film on X/Twitter and failing to issue a prompt apology.

Despite Irving and his former Nets co-star Kevin Durant facing championship expectations, they failed to lead Brooklyn past the postseason's second round. In total, they won just one playoff series.

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Many quickly began questioning Irving's NBA future and his prospects of contributing to a title contender without causing a distraction. However, the eight-time All-Star has experienced relatively smooth sailing since being dealt to Dallas.

With Sunday's 116-107 Game 3 Western Conference finals victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Irving and Co. moved within one game of this year's NBA Finals.

After the critical win, which gave Dallas a commanding 3-0 series lead, Kyrie Irving discussed in depth what has made his first one-and-a-half seasons with Dallas go so smoothly. He highlighted the fans, community and weather, noting that the city's warm climate has allowed him to relax and spend more time with his family.

“I feel like it’s a great chapter that’s being written right now, and I’m enjoying every step of the way," Irving said. "... I'm enjoying the hot weather right now. I’m enjoying the Dallas community and the fans here. We talked about this earlier in the season, just how much I felt embraced, but I think it’s gone a little deeper than that.
"It’s really helped me grow as a human being and find my peace out here. It's good to breathe fresh air and get outside. Seasonal depression is real when you're growing up out north. I spent 12 years in the Eastern Conference in three cold cities that deal with four seasons. So, you come out here and you're able to get outside and ground yourself a little bit more and spend some time with your family, watch your kids run outside, wife's happy ... I don't take those things for granted."

So, between his postseason success and lack of off-court incidents, the 32-year-old appears as content as ever in Dallas.

Also Read: "It doesn’t mean anything" - Kyrie Irving responds to 'best backcourt in NBA history' praise for him and Luka Doncic

Kyrie Irving says he's always been a team-first player despite criticism

During Sunday's postgame interview, Kyrie Irving also referenced the ridicule he's faced throughout the ladder half of his 13-year career.

According to the superstar guard, he has always been a team-first player focused on winning. So, he's never been too concerned about outside noise.

"Ever since I was young, I've always felt like I'm one of the best in the world because I'm able to play with other great players," Irving said.
"I don't ask for the ball, I don't demand it. I will play defense, I will do all of the other things that don't show up in the stat sheet, and that's always what I've wanted to be remembered as. Everything else that people have thrown on my career has been up to them."

Some may remain skeptical about Kyrie Irving's long-term chances of avoiding controversy. However, a second title would likely go a long way toward helping him continue to restore his reputation.

Also Read: "He wants that Chip bad": Kendrick Perkins leads applause of Kyrie Irving after Mavericks superstar runs riot in Game 3

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