By Kenny Roda
What’s that saying that Austin Carr uses every once in a blue moon during an NBA game? I’m trying to remember… Oh, yeah: “Pressure bursts pipes, Fred!” That is true for a lot of athletes; they can’t handle pressure and fail miserably. But pressure can also create beautiful diamonds. Diamonds are a material with superlative physical qualities, which perfectly describes the Cavs’ Kyrie Irving.
The second-year point guard and former number-one-overall draft pick adores pressure. He thrives on it! He’s selfish to the point that even on a horrible shooting night, one that he called maybe his worst shooting night ever versus the Spurs last week, he still stared pressure in the face and wanted to take the game-deciding shot. He would miss, but didn’t care. It’s what makes him tick! He thought he would make it because in less than two years in the NBA, Kyrie Irving has already hit five game-winning shots!
So it should be no surprise that during NBA All-Star weekend in Houston, Irving had no problems. He devoured pressure on three different occasions.
In the Rising Stars Challenge game, he embarrassed Detroit’s Brandon Knight by breaking his ankles and stealing the show with a 32-point performance. Even though Kyrie wasn’t the game’s MVP like he was last year, he was the talk of the town. Then he won the three-point contest the first time he ever participated in it, scoring 23 out of a possible 30 points in the final round. Take that, pressure! And finally, he played in his first ever All-Star game and fit right in, scoring 15 points playing with all the superstars in the league. He proved that he belongs with them.
It was a pressure-packed weekend and Kyrie Irving enjoyed every minute of it. In fact, he sparkled like the biggest diamond of the bunch. Imagine how beautiful that diamond is going to look when it becomes a finished, polished product made in Cleveland, Ohio!
Kenny Roda covers the Cavaliers for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 WKNR and ESPNCleveland.com
Follow Kenny on Twitter @RoadmanWKNR
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