Kyrie Irving Holds Back Tears After Clinching Western Conference Finals Spot

Kyrie Irving opens up about his tumultuous NBA path.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Kyrie Irving Holds Back Tears After Clinching Western Conference Finals Spot
© Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving, in a heartfelt moment after securing a spot in the Western Conference Finals with the Dallas Mavericks, opened up about the emotional journey back to the top tier of the NBA. Speaking to the media following the Mavericks' decisive Game 6 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Irving, affectionately known as Kai, shared the overwhelming mix of relief and nostalgia that marked his return to this competitive high point.

Reflecting on his career, Irving said, "I had to make an impromptu speech, and I had to do my best not to let some tears come down from my eyes. It feels like it has been a long time coming just being back in this position, getting back to the Conference Finals.

It’s been a long way back." He reminisced about his earlier success with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he reached the Conference Finals three consecutive times, highlighting how his absence from this stage weighed heavily on him as a competitor.

Irving's Rocky Journey

Irving's journey has been laden with both triumphs and challenges. His notable stint with the Cavaliers culminated in a 2016 NBA Championship victory, a peak in his career that made his subsequent trade request in 2017 even more shocking.

Seeking to step out of LeBron James’ formidable shadow, Irving aimed to lead as the main figure. However, his tenure with the Boston Celtics was marred by underperformance and leadership struggles, leading to a disappointing exit after two seasons.

Further controversy followed Irving to the Brooklyn Nets, where despite forming a high-profile duo with Kevin Durant, off-court issues, including his stance on vaccination and promotion of contentious views, overshadowed his on-court exploits.

The partnership failed to deliver a championship, adding to Irving’s frustrations. The move to Dallas marked a significant turnaround for Irving. In the Mavericks, he found the stability and support needed to navigate past controversies and focus on his game.

His resurgence is not only a testament to his enduring skill but also his personal growth, as he acknowledged the role of his teammates in his revival. "I'm grateful that I had these guys beside me and kept feeding me confidence and keep doing little things for one another,” Irving noted, appreciating the collective effort that fueled their success.

As the Mavericks look ahead, the feeling is bittersweet. While celebrating their current achievement, Irving and his team are aware that their journey is far from complete. Yet, this milestone serves as a poignant reminder of Irving’s resilience and dedication, proving that despite past setbacks, his star power remains undimmed in the quest for NBA glory.

Kyrie Irving