Kyrie's Second Title Could Catapult Him Among NBA Elite, Says Windhorst

Exploring Kyrie Irving's significant contributions in critical NBA moments.

by Abdullah Magsi
Kyrie's Second Title Could Catapult Him Among NBA Elite, Says Windhorst
© Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving's remarkable performance during the Dallas Mavericks' journey to the 2024 NBA Finals has significantly quieted his critics. Serving as a formidable secondary scorer, Irving's continued excellence could propel him into a new realm of NBA stardom, ESPN's Brian Windhorst suggests.

Discussing Irving's potential ascent on a recent "SportsCenter" episode, Windhorst highlighted the transformative opportunity the Finals present for the 32-year-old guard. "Kyrie's always been praised by his peers for his dynamic play, but defeating a top-seeded team like the Boston Celtics could significantly enhance his overall standing," Windhorst explained.

The Celtics, with a stellar 64-18 season record, pose a formidable challenge, akin to elite teams of past decades. A victory over such a team could be a defining moment in Irving's career, Windhorst noted, emphasizing the leap his resume would take with another championship win under such circumstances.

Irving's Early Triumphs

Irving's playoff prowess was first spotlighted during his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2011 to 2017, where he, alongside LeBron James, led the team to three consecutive Finals, including a victory over the record-setting 73-9 Golden State Warriors in 2016.

Despite a series of injuries and controversies post-Cleveland, which marred his stints with the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, Irving has reinvented his narrative with the Mavericks. Teaming up with Luka Doncic, the duo has averaged a combined 51.6 points per game this postseason, steering the fifth-seeded Mavericks to an unexpected Finals berth.

As Windhorst pointed out, this Finals series offers Irving a chance to solidify his legacy independent of past affiliations, particularly his pivotal role alongside James. Reflecting on his career, Irving described his time with Dallas as the pinnacle of his 13-year NBA journey.

"This has been the greatest portion of my career," Irving shared with Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill. He emphasized the depth of experience he now brings to the court, shaping his role as a veteran leader. With the Finals ahead, Irving stands on the cusp of a potentially career-defining triumph, poised to further cement his status among the NBA's elite.

Kyrie Irving