The version of Kyrie Irving at Dallas is worlds apart from the Kyrie everyone saw in Brooklyn.
Irving’s attitude on and off the court has been totally different and it appears to be for the better.
The eight-time All-Star is taking responsibility for his dramatic past and most importantly, says he feels respected by the Mavs organisation.
“I had to be mature enough to say I got to take accountability for my own actions,” Irving told ESPN. “I got to really walk and be the example that I want to see in the world. And that’s just being a good person to a lot of people, and not being so hard to reach and not be so isolated to where people can misjudge that as whatever it is. Like, ‘Oh, he doesn’t talk, or he is not really close with anybody. I don’t really know him that well.’ So I feel like a lot of people misjudged me. …
“Dallas gave me a chance to just focus on the main thing, which is being the best basketball player when I stepped foot here, and then off the court still support me.”
The fact that him and Luka Doncic are starting to strike up a formidable combination has certainly helped matters.
The main reason Dallas find themselves in sixth place in the West and with a 24-18 record is Doncic and Irving.
“He’s a winner. I’m a winner,” Kyrie said of Luka. “He’s a big gamer. I’m a big gamer. We like going against the best. That’s where I feel like we connect. …
“At this point in his career, in my career, particularly talking about me and Luka, it’s about how we galvanize the rest of the group. We help each other grow as people, and then the basketball part is the easy part. I needed mentors when I was growing up in the league, so I feel like that’s the role I play here, being a very young mentor to Luka [and] to all our guys.
“Because I’ve seen a lot, I’ve done a lot. I failed at the highest level, I succeeded at the highest level, and I want to get back to that place.”