Kyrie Irving sat down for an interview on the ETCs podcast and shared his thoughts on the 2016 championship run with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The All-Star guard was generous in giving credit to his teammates and talked about how that series changed him as a player.
Kyrie and the 2016 Cavaliers
Irving helped deliver a championship to the city that drafted him, but it was not easy. The team had to overcome many adversities during the regular season and in the playoffs. Facing the historically good Golden State Warriors and defeating them after being down 3-1 will forever be a part of Kyrie and his teammates. Irving was generous in deflecting credit to his teammates in a guest appearance for the Boardroom podcast.
“We just had a good group and that run was special because we had dealt with so much adversity in the regular season. Internal stuff that we had to get right as teammates. Looking back on it, I think it was just more special because of the way we did it. I had to go deep within myself to bring out all of these tools and put them on display on the biggest stage.”
Kyrie Irving, The ETCs podcast
Looking back at the adversities the team went through, they had a coaching change midway through the season. Tyron Lue took over, brought them to The Finals, and overcame a 3-1 disadvantage against the best regular-season team in NBA history: the 73-9 Warriors.
2016 and the Cavaliers will always be special to Irving. It’s still his first and only championship to date. He tried to get away from LeBron James’ shadows and become a man of his own, but he failed to win a title in Boston, and Brooklyn suffered a sweep in the recent playoffs.
Irving was just 24 years old in 2016. Going through the pressure to perform at the highest level is something not a lot have the opportunity of experiencing. Without those memories, Ky would be a different player today. Now at 30, he’s considered one of the veterans on his team. He’s now looked up to provide mentoring to the young ones.
Whether or not Irving will win another one in his career remains to be seen. This just shows how everything needs to be at the right place and time for the magic to happen. Cleveland overcame the challenges, and the championship made Irving better on and off the court.