Kyrie Irving, in his NBA career, has been no stranger to controversy. He seemingly forced his way out of Cleveland, he seemingly forced his way out of Boston, and he has seemingly taken not-so-veiled shots at LeBron James. He has also received his fair share of criticism from former players.
His Brooklyn Nets teammate Joe Harris, however, says that Irving is a great guy both on the court and in the locker room.
“Yeah, definitely,” Harris said on Tiki & Tierney. “I think a lot of times a lot of things that he’s done has just sort of been taken out of context a little bit. Behind closed doors, he really is a real consistent guy. He comes in, he busts his tail every day, he competes every day in practice. Like all of us, it’s not like we’re all hitting on all cylinders every single day. There’s some days where he might be a little off here and there, but at the end of the day, he’s a great dude, great teammate, and he comes in and competes and works hard every day. That’s all you expect out of your teammates.”
Irving, 28, was the first overall pick in 2011. A six-time All-Star, he helped the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title in 2016, played two seasons for the Boston Celtics, and signed with Brooklyn in 2019. He and Kevin Durant hope to lead the franchise to its first NBA Finals appearance since 2003.
“He’s a great dude. He’s a great teammate. You know what to expect from him,” Harris said of Irving. “When he comes in every day, he’s going to bust his tail, do his job. I wouldn’t even say he’s a high-maintenance guy by any means. To be honest, I don’t pay a lot of attention to a lot of the extra stuff and some of the things that are going on in the media, especially when it pertain to him and some of the other guys on the team. But I do know that some of the stuff that I have caught wind of, I think it is taken out of context because I don’t see that. I see what I see every day with him coming in, being professional, just working.”
Irving is averaging a team-high 29.3 points per game for Brooklyn (2-2), while Durant is averaging 26.7. They rank fourth and ninth, respectively, in the NBA in scoring.
“At the end of the day, him and Kevin are identical in the sense where these guys are established superstars, but they come in and they bust their tail every day,” Harris said. “These guys are two of the hardest-working guys we have on our team, and that’s what you want from all of your teammates. I think some of the other stuff, people like to latch onto that and blow it up a little bit more than it really is.”