Kyrie Irving Talks About Boston Tenure, Celtics' 'Cult' Culture Ahead of Game 5

Kyrie Irving talks about Celtics culture and his two seasons in Boston ahead of Monday's Game 5.
2024 NBA Finals - Game Four
2024 NBA Finals - Game Four / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Dallas Mavericks star guard Kyrie Irving admits he wasn't ready to lead the Boston Celtics during his two seasons in Boston, nor did he consider the Celtics to be one of his preferred destinations at the time.

When the Cleveland Cavaliers honored Irving's trade request in 2017, sending him to the Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a future first-round pick, Irving wished he had approached the role differently. He opened up about his time in Boston during media availability after Dallas' practice on Sunday.

""When I look back on it, getting traded here, this wasn't one of my options. It wasn't number one on my list. So, when the opportunity got approached to me, instead of going back and appreciating the Celtic's history, I just came in with an open mind, said I'm just gonna go with the flow into this, but I think that was the wrong approach,"" Irving said. "Just being young. But now that I'm a little older, hindsight looking back on it. I definitely would have taken time to get to know people within the community and talk to some of the champions that have come before me. Actually extend myself to them instead of the other way around, expecting them to be there for me, giving me advice. ""

Kyrie Irving

It's something Irving believes could have made a big difference during his time in Boston.

""They’ve been through it,” Irving added. “They have championship pedigree here. They’ve shown it for years. They’re one of the most winningest franchises in all of sports. So, you have to show your respects here. I think that’s what I struggled with initially, was figuring out how I’m going to be a great player here while winning championships, while also leading a team, and selflessly joining the Celtics organization or the cult that they have here. And that’s what they expect you to do as a player."

Kyrie Irving on the Celtics organization

After plenty of speculation due to not signing a contract extension before the 2018-19 campaign, and despite Irving's pledge to stay long-term at a team's preseason event, Kyrie inked a new deal with the Brooklyn Nets. It's an unforgivable decision for Celtics fans, and Irving is reminded of this every time he steps onto the parquet floor at TD Garden.

"They expect you to seamlessly buy into the Celtics pride, buy into everything Celtics, and if you don’t, then you will be outed, and I’m one of the people that’s on the outs,” Irving said with a smile. “I did it to myself. They don’t welcome me with a warm embrace.""

Kyrie Irving on the Celtics

Kyrie finished talking about his time with the Celtics by offering advice to NBA players considering signing with Boston, anticipating a trade, or on the verge of being selected by the Celtics in an upcoming draft.

""Just expect to have a magnifying glass on you everywhere you go. I don’t think Boston appreciates being kind of second-class to New York in terms of the media capital of the world, but this is a media capital of the world, as well,” Irving said. “There’s a lot of history here off the court. The community is integrated into this Celtics team — that’s probably the best way I can say it. The community is what makes the Celtics great. Here, Boston pandemonium, that’s what makes this space so loud and so special, and they take pride in it.

“So, if any player is coming here or getting drafted here, or thinking about coming here in free agency or getting traded here, do your homework and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. That’s something I can offer.""

Kyrie Irving's advice for future Celtics

Irving and the Mavericks will look to keep their season alive in Game 5 at TD Garden on Monday.

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