Skip to content

Kyrie Irving admits first three years he wasn’t a leader, “just been a kid trying to figure it out”

Aug 18, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT

Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving

To ask a rookie to come in and lead, to be the face of an NBA franchise is unfair to anyone. People remember Magic Johnson’s rookie year but that was Kareem Abdul-Jabar’s team until 1984. Michael Jordan took time to learn how to lead. It’s true of everyone.

Including Kyrie Irving. He was asked to do that, as are more and more young top picks. The Cavaliers’ point guard has quickly risen to be one of the top point guards in the NBA in his first three seasons, but on a young team he was just not yet equipped to be a leader.

While with Team USA in Chicago, Irving admitted as much in a conversation with Real GM (hat tip Waiting for Next Year).

“Everybody asks me if this is my year to be a leader … I haven’t been so far though, not at all,” Irving said. “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.

“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.

“Now, we have guys who’ve been in the league for years, guys who’ve won championships and have had to give a piece of their game for the greater good of the team. It’s something I admire and something I’m going to learn from.”

That’s a mature outlook from Irving. The kind a leader should have.

This is LeBron James‘ team now, and guys such as Mike Miller and Shawn Marion are certainly professionals. Things will be much more clear in that locker room, there will be a pecking order.

But Irving just signed a five-year, $90 million contract extension — he is now by definition one of the leaders. That kind of payday makes that happen. Just now he has some good role models to follow.

Latest Posts
  1. Michael Carter-Williams cleared to return to practice Nov. 6

    Oct 25, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Michael Carter-Williams

    Reigning Rookie of the Year had offseason shoulder surgery, but may not miss many regular season games.

  2. Gregg Popovich after Spurs go 2-5 in preseason: ‘We look like we’re not very interested’

    Oct 25, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    Gregg Popovich Gregg Popovich

    Defending champs have no reason to exert themselves until the games count in the standings.

  3. Nets head coach Hollins believes Brook Lopez will be ready for opening night

    Oct 25, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    New Jersey Nets practice 05/07/2014 New Jersey Nets practice 05/07/2014

    Lopez hasn’t practiced since it was reported he suffered a soft tissue injury to his surgically repaired foot on Oct. 16.

  4. Report: Klay Thompson’s camp ‘frustrated’ Warriors have yet to offer a max contract extension

    Oct 25, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Klay Thompson Klay Thompson

    Warriors hold (almost) all the leverage, because Thompson will be a restricted free agent next summer.

  5. 67RIEFNS: Warriors starters with Draymond Green

    Oct 25, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

    Lineup data shows Green greatly improves his team’s chances when playing with the starters.

  6. 67RIEFNS: Lance Stephenson on the loose

    Oct 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Charlotte Hornets vs Philadelphia 76ers Charlotte Hornets vs Philadelphia 76ers

    Is Stephenson ready for responsibility that comes with going from Pacers to Hornets?

  7. Report: Cavaliers have had ‘zero discussion’ on contract extension with Tristan Thompson

    Oct 25, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Tristan Thompson Tristan Thompson

    It might be because short of an insane offer of a max deal, Thompson would rather take his chances as a restricted free agent next summer.

  8. Kings’ Ray McCallum sinks put-back at the buzzer to beat Lakers

    Oct 25, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Ray McCallum AP

    Nice job of McCallum to stay active on a play where he had already missed a shot.

  9. 67RIEFNS: Isaiah Thomas vs. Sacramento Kings

    Oct 25, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings

    Will Thomas make Kings regret choosing Darren Collison over him?

  10. Thunder’s Anthony Morrow to miss 4-6 weeks with knee sprain

    Oct 25, 2014, 12:01 AM EDT

    Grizzlies vs Thunder Grizzlies vs Thunder

    Thunder will be very short-handed the first month of the regular season.

  11. Player intentionally makes shot in own basket in attempt to force overtime

    Oct 24, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    And it was probably the smartest possible play

  12. 67RIEFNS: K.J. McDaniels testing the second-round system

    Oct 24, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Getty Images

    76ers forwent any guaranteed salary to hit free agency sooner

Featured video

Heat can make playoffs without LeBron
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (4644)
  2. V. Oladipo (4620)
  3. B. Lopez (4605)
  4. K. Lowry (4541)
  5. N. Noel (4504)