City Sports Report

Kyrie Irving talks playing with LeBron, raised expectations

KyrieLeBron

Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks playing with teammate LeBron James, being an area kid and playing in the NBA All-Star Game in New York City, and more when he spoke to the media before he competed in the NBA All-Star Game over the weekend.  Here is what he had to say.

KYRIE IRVING: This is great. We’re learning from each other. Learning how to be great teammates. Learning how to be a leader with LeBron. Coming into my own.

Q. Is it different now going to work?
KYRIE IRVING: It’s a lot different. Not a lot of pressure on myself as I was doing last year. Coming to the basketball game and just playing it. Realizing I’m living my dream every day I wake up. We have some great players on our team that I have the chance to play with and I’m taking full advantage of it. Having fun.

Q. How has that fan support changed? Can you feel it from the year before to the season?
KYRIE IRVING: Absolutely. We go into some away places and sometimes it feels like a home game. Seeing a lot of Cleveland jerseys, a lot of Cleveland fans. I’m just thankful we have them around the world. But every time we play, we have to put our on our best performance. Everybody is watching. You want to be on that type of stage and enjoy playing the game.

Q. What’s the difference between the Cavs in the beginning of the season to now?
KYRIE IRVING: I think the biggest difference is just the trust factor in the simple fact that we’ve been around each other longer than we were when we first came to the team. Practices were great in the beginning of the season. The energy was high, but we still didn’t know one another. We just spent a lot of time with one another and being in the same locker room and going through the ups and downs and dealing with the scrutiny, and everyone taking shots at us and what we’re not doing and what we need to improve on brought us closer together. We knew what we had to improve on. That was on the defensive end. Went out and got some guys that are helping us out the. We’re a better team. We’re playing together and it starts with our defense.

Q. What’s it like to play with LeBron? And what kind of adjustment needs to be made by everyone as players?
KYRIE IRVING: It’s truly a luxury to be playing with a tremendous talent like him. He makes you better. He demands it out of you every single night. That’s what you want, playing at the highest level and kind of everybody watching you and what you do. That level right there as a basketball player is where you kind of make your mark and where you’re tested at. So everyone is coming at us every single night. You want to be one of those premiere teams in the league where you’re getting everyone’s best shot.

Q. Coming from this area, how important is it for you to play in an All-Star Game in New York City?
KYRIE IRVING: It’s great. It’s great. Great opportunity to put on a show for the fans. I remember watching the All-Star Game when Kobe, this was his first one, and he was playing against MJ. MJ won the MVP. I remember watching that game. Now that I’m actually going to get a chance to step on the floor and play with tremendous talents in this league, it’s truly a blessing.

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