November 28, 2021

Top 10 Cleveland Athletes of All-Time: Number 10: Kyrie Irving

This one is going to cause the most head-scratching. Why Kyrie Irving? Before the Kyrie-haters come out in full force, let’s remember what this man did accomplish in the Cavs uniform before his nasty departure to Boston.

Irving was taken number one overall by the Cavs in the (Post-Lebron-era) after the Cavs were coming off a dreadful season. Kyrie dazzled Cavs fans with his insane dribbling, shot-creating and his killer clutch gene which would come in handy in a certain game. Kyrie’s first three seasons in Cleveland saw no postseason appearances. But that would all change in the summer of 2014.

The Cavs would get a boost in personnel when Lebron James made his triumphant return and the Cavs would trade for Kevin Love, giving Kyrie some more firepower. Kyrie and Lebron led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in 2015. Kyrie would fracture his kneecap in Game 1 of the finals and the Cavs went on to lose the series in six.

Then came 2016.

Kyrie was back, healthy and out for vengeance. The Cavs would blow through the Eastern Conference and had a date with the Golden State Warriors. The Cavs fell behind 3-1 to the Warriors. Then it happened. Kyrie and LeBron would have a Game 5 for the ages as both put up 40 points apiece to keep the season alive.

In Game 6, the Cavs blew the Warriors off the court and forced a Game 7. Kyrie Irving would get his vengeance on Golden State in the most critical moment of the game. With the game nodded up at 89 apiece, Kyrie would have one on one matchup against the MVP Steph Curry. Irving would drill a three-pointer with 53 seconds left in the game giving the Cavs the lead and eventually the win. Irving, with the help of James, led the Cavs to Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years.

Kyrie would play his final season with the Cavs in the 2016-17 season. Irving would request a trade and was eventually dealt to the Boston Celtics and his career has not been the same ever since.

 

 

Signature Moment: In Game 7, Irving hit a three-pointer with 53 seconds left in the game that propelled the Cavaliers to a 92–89 lead and an eventual 93–89 win. The Cavaliers won the series 4–3 and became the first team to rally from a 3–1 NBA Finals deficit, beating the defending champion Golden State Warriors to end a 52-year major sports championship drought in Cleveland.

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