The most surreal moment of Kyrie Irving’s All-Star weekend came when he returned to the court for the second half of Sunday’s All-Star Game. Hip-hop stars like Jay-Z, Drake and 2 Chainz approached him and knew him on a first-name basis.
“If I would’ve randomly saw them on the street a year ago, they wouldn’t know who the hell I was,” Irving said. “That was a ‘pinch me’ moment.”
Irving is still adjusting to his celebrity status following a sparkling All-Star weekend, but he’ll also have to adjust to the drawback from the increased exposure. The more Irving plays, the more people around the league are taking notice — particularly young point guards who now have a target in their scope.
“I think the target had already developed,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. “It might be a bigger target. It’s a bull’s-eye now. It’s a big one.”
Irving has already caught glimpses of that in the past, when guys like the Sacramento Kings’ Isaiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons’ Brandon Knight seem to attack him with full throttle. Irving was the first player chosen in the 2011 draft, and Thomas was the last. Similarly, Irving was the first point guard selected and Knight was the second. The two have developed a budding rivalry ever since that and added another chapter in Friday’s Rising Stars game, when the two guards went at each other and at one point Knight landed flat on his back.
Celebrity status grows for Kyrie Irving during All-Star weekend
Akron Beacon Journal | Feb 19