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Kyrie Irving will make his Boston Celtics regular-season debut against his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, on opening night and the All-Star point guard says he’s not the slightest bit anxious about returning to The Land.
Irving is aware of the magnitude surrounding his return and knows the crowd is going to be electric and hostile.
At the end of the day, though, Irving says it’s all about basketball in its simplicity.
“No, why would it be? It’s just hoops,” Irving told The Undefeated. “It’s just hooping. I understand the magnitude. But I know what it is going to entail in terms of marketing, whatever the case may be, to garner up this energy to make people feel a certain type of way. I get all that. It’s part of the game. It’s been a part of the game for a while. But it’s just two hoops and a basketball.
“It’s all love no matter what. I have heard boos at times to hearing cheers in the parade. I’ve been in the championship parade as well as being down 30. So I’ve heard it all. It’s just good to be there and hoop against a great team like the Cavs.”
While fans in Cleveland will always appreciate Irving for his memorable shot against the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, his ugly divorce with LeBron James coupled with recent comments about the city, have tarnished Irving’s image.
Irving is enjoying being back in the East Coast and says Boston is a “real live sports city.”
“It’s exciting to be on the East Coast, I will tell you that,” Irving said. “It’s fast-paced. There are a lot of different cultures. You get it all. It is really a major city coming from Cleveland where it is the Midwest. The culture is different.
“You go in Cleveland and it would be at night and there were things going on. You could see it was a vast difference of what Cleveland is and what Boston is. But Boston is one of those cities. I’m driving in and I’m like, ‘OK, I’m really in a real, live sports city and a great city.'”
That last remark by Irving, while it’s not harmful in any manner, probably won’t sit well with Clevelanders.