Kyrie Irving played a basketball game in Cleveland on Monday night. It went pretty well for Irving and the Brooklyn Nets, as he scored 32 points in a 125-117 win over the Cavaliers. And after the game, one of Irving’s former teammates with the Cavs advocated for the franchise to lift his jersey into the rafters once his career comes to an end.
“Without a doubt. Absolutely. Right away, after his career ends,” Kevin Love said to Chris Fedor of cleveland.com about whether or not the franchise should retire Irving’s jersey. “It’s not even a question to me. He needs to be up there. He made the biggest shot in franchise history and one of the most important shots in Finals history when you consider how it all went down — what it meant for the city, what it meant for his legacy, LeBron’s legacy and everything else, including that Golden State team that became a dynasty and was historically great.”
The Cavaliers drafted Irving No. 1 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. After looking like one of the league’s brightest young talent for his first three seasons on a struggling team, Irving was joined in Cleveland by LeBron James, who rejoined the franchise as a free agent, and Love, who the team acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, to create one of the most fearsome trios in all of basketball.
Prior to Irving’s trade to the Boston Celtics ahead of the 2017 season, those three players helped lead the Cavaliers to three NBA Finals appearances in a row. The high point came in 2016, when the team came back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Golden State Warriors to win the only championship in franchise history. Irving averaged 27.1 points per game in the series and hit a three in the waning moments of Game 7 to seal the title.