Kyrie Irving wants to focus on basketball.
The Celtics star said Monday that being a celebrity is “a little hard” for him and he made it clear he just wants to “play basketball at a very high level.”
Kyrie Irving today: “I didn’t really come into this game to be cameras in my face, be famous, be a celebrity, whatever embodies that. It’s a little hard for me. I wanted those things when I was younger, but now … I just want to play basketball at a very high level.”
— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) March 4, 2019
“The distractions that come from within the team sometimes can get overwhelming,” Irving told reporters, via NBC Sports. “I’m human so I just try not to let it seep into my teammates. That’s the most important thing, you know. Setting an example for these young guys.”
— Kyle Draper (@KyleDraperTV) March 4, 2019
Irving has been in the spotlight from the start. He was a highly touted prospect at Duke and was selected by Cleveland with the top pick in the 2011 draft, despite playing in just 11 games for the Blue Devils.
The 26-year-old guard is a six-time All-Star and won an NBA championship with the Cavaliers in 2016. He was traded to the Celtics just before the 2017-18 season.
While Irving is considered to be one of basketball’s top talents, Boston has lost five of its last six games. The once-favored Celtics are still fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, though.
Boston reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018 and fell short to a LeBron James-led Cavaliers team.
Irving’s happiness in Boston has been a key storyline this season, as he can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer.