Kairi Irving believes that he was excluded from the 75th anniversary of the NBA in the list of 75 best players in the history of the league.
Irving, who was recently named one of McDonald’s 40 greatest Americans of all time, said he will wait until the end of his career to make more serious remarks about his non-recognition on the league’s most famous list.
“I’m not trying to sit here and express the reasons why I felt I deserved to be in the top 75,” Irving said after the Nets came out from behind. victory over the Knicks on Wednesday. “I think I’ll wait for that when my career is over, and maybe by the 100th anniversary I’ll get on this team. You don’t know if they don’t expand the group. ”
Irving has a case. He is easily one of the most experienced ball handlers in NBA history. He also won the game for Stephen Curry, who brought the Cleveland Cavaliers their 2016 NBA Championship. And last year he joined Kevin Durant and Steve Nash – two members of the top 75 – at the 50-40-90 club, shooting better than 50% off the field, 40% out of three and 90% off city center during the 2020 season -21.
Irving also believes he was a late scratch from the top 75, but wouldn’t go into his reasoning.
“I think I’ll leave it to conspiracy theorists,” he said. “I think I was on the list, but I don’t think I am, so hey, like I said, maybe I’ll just wait 10 years, 20 years from now, hopefully with a few championships and talk to you guys on the court after raising a few banners here in Brooklyn. ”
Irving noted how much he sacrificed during his life to become the superstar’s chief bodyguard in the best basketball league on the planet. His resume also includes seven appearances at the All-Star Game, Newcomer of the Year 2012, All-Star MVP of 2014 and three NBA elections. He was also a member of the 2016 U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team, which won gold in Rio de Janeiro. And he was listed along with NBA legends such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal on McDonald’s list of the 40 Greatest Americans.
“I am grateful to everyone in our basketball culture for recognizing some of the greatest players in our game,” Irving said. “And when I’m there with some of these guys, I don’t take it for granted. It was a lot of lonely nights at the gym, a lot of time donations, away from family, away from friends, there wasn’t a perfect childhood that was, so to speak, at all, Duke’s college sitting and just not being able to live like say, ordinary life: get 9-5 and join your passion.
“So it’s a special game and it’s rewarded by a lot of people, so when I can carve out my name and be there with some of the greats, I feel like I’m leaving a legacy I want to leave behind. It’s just a lot of hard work that goes into it, so I’m grateful for that. “
Yet Irving knows the work is not done. He is a one-time NBA champion on a team led by LeBron James. He has no scoring titles, has not won a league MVP, was never recognized as the first All-NBA team, and after many years ago he requested a change in Cleveland, he was followed by drama. This season, he debuted only on January 5 due to a decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Irving feels rejected from the top 75, but 25 years later, when there will be a top 100, he believes he will be included – provided he follows his own plan to win the championship here in Brooklyn.
“It’s not necessary to prove to someone why I deserve to be on this list,” he said. “I know I still have a lot of work to do in this league and I just want to leave it there, so let my game speak for itself. I like being qualified, but by the time I retire and retire, I want to be known as a winner. The winner of the championship. (I) want to have a few of these things and do it with a great group of guys and a great organization that believes in me and everything else you can write yourself. ”