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Basketball savant Kyrie Irving finally shows-up and is showing-out with Nets

Jan 20, 2022 0 comments

Despite the whirlwind of controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving's vaccination status, his commitment to basketball being questioned and his propensity for posting cryptic social media messages, the Net point guard's talent is undeniable. 

Having practiced on just a handful of occasion with his fellow teammates so far this season, Irving hit the ground running in his season debut against Indiana on January 5 with 22 points, four assists and three steals on 52.9 percent shooting. Ineligible for Brooklyn's first 35 games of the regular season due to remaining unvaccinated, Irving picked up right where he left off in the 2021 NBA playoffs. 

The guy is a complete freak of nature, a basketball savant and as gifted a player as the league can showcase. The wildest thing of all is that basketball is only part of Irving's story, who is passionate about social justice, honoring his Native American heritage and giving back to underprivileged communities both domestic and foreign. 

In fact, sometimes basketball has taken a backseat to Irving's other off-the-court pursuits and endeavors. Even with a lot on his mind, Irving went for 27 points on January 17 in a loss to Cleveland and 30 in a narrow win over Washington Wednesday night. 

Few players are more scrutinized, more polarizing and perhaps misunderstood than Irving. His come and go nature with the Brooklyn Nets is something Steve Nash and company have simply grown accustomed to. 

In his first season with the Nets, Irving played in 20 games before undergoing surgery to his shoulder. Last season, Irving played in 54 regular season games and missed time due to injury and personal reasons being away from the team. So far in five games this year, Irving is averaging 22.8 points, 5.8 assists and 5.0 rebounds. 

For a guy who practiced with the team briefly during training camp in California and rejoined the club for the first-time in the last two weeks after a four-month absence, it should be astonishing for his production and impact to be what it is. 

But not for Irving. 

Despite his icy relationship with the media, the Nets' point guard is arguably the most popular player in Brooklyn's locker room and receives plenty of praise and admiration from teammates. When he was inactive, there was a sense of joy and passion missing from the Jason Harden and Kevin Durant-led Nets. Not that either of those star players are lacking those qualities, but Irving emanates such pure joy and love for the game when he plays that it becomes infectious. 

Vaccine mandates notwithstanding, teammates and fans simply missed Irving's presence and awe-inspiring play. Now that he's back, albeit in a part-time capacity, everyone is reminded of his otherworldly talent and exactly why the Brooklyn Nets are favored to win the title with him in the fold. 

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