The One That Got Away: My Roller Coaster Relationship with Kyrie Irving
In life, we always come across a person who we think is “the one”. The one who we will cherish and love forever, the one who gives us everlasting happiness, and the one who makes us a better person. Well, that person was you Kyrie Irving, and this is my last love letter before I have to cut you off, hopefully.
Stage 1: Attraction
It was May of 2016 when I first really saw you. I had known about you, everyone did. You were, in simple terms, attractive. Those killer crossovers which you used to blow by defenders then transition into a graceful spin move magnificently, losing your next defender, and then ultimately topping it off with a sexy off-hand reverse layup, kissing the ball off the glass perfectly. You had the complete package: a smooth jumper, a soft floater and not to mention a natural swagger that was unparalleled on the court. You were different from the other players. You never shied away from the bright lights. You lit up the TD Garden, to my dismay, every chance you got. However, you were still with that dude LeBron James, and I’ll admit you guys looked good together, and I could only watch in awe.
Stage 2: Hope
Fast forward to a year later and things had changed. You were still the spectacular player that you were but you had encountered problems with LeBron. I, however, was content. The Celtics already had a star in Isaiah Thomas and had made a huge addition in Gordon Hayward. Along with rising young players, we were primed to contend in the East. But you came back into the picture, the Celtics traded for you, they just had to trade for you. You came to Boston in exchange of Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and a bunch of random guys. Losing Isaiah was tough, but you assured me that everything would be better. True to your word, it sure looked that way. Isaiah was unhealthy and you, you were still Kyrie Irving, and the future never looked any better.
Stage 3: Shared Tragedy
Gordon Hayward had gone down with a brutal leg injury. That was a painful day I’d never forget. But despite that, you made sure that everything would be okay. Winning 13 games in a row to begin the season, you looked like the player the we were always missing. You were fun to root for; your highlights were more enthralling when you were on our side. Things were good until you started getting hurt. A leg injury that prevented you from playing in the playoffs. This was heartbreaking. But then we still continued to fight, we surprisingly made it all the way to the Conference Finals but lost gallantly to your ex — LeBron — again. It was definitely a hard pill to swallow, but I knew this would only make us stronger for next season.
Stage 4: The Honeymoon
Things were never better. LeBron had fled the East, leaving it wide open for us. With you and Gordon were recovering and the immensely improved young players of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, expectations were through the roof. The last time I was this excited for a Celtic season was when the Big 3 formed, and what did that end up in? You started the season by saying how thrilled you were and how you planned on staying here. This was it Kyrie. We were going to create a dynasty here and you were going to retire as a legendary Celtic so that I could gloat to all my Laker friends about you. Havlicek, Bird, McHale, Pierce, Bill f*cking Russell. The Savior. Azor Ahai. Whatever you wanna call it, it didn’t matter to me. Banner 18 was coming.
Stage 5: The Red Flags
The season did not go as planned. We started 10-10 and had not lived up to any expectations. Yet you still looked good out there, posting all-star numbers whilst showing off your arsenal of breathtaking moves. However, as the season went by, more and more red flags started appearing. There were major chemistry issues. You’d complain all the time and weren’t afraid to make those complaints public. You were talking to your ex again, and even talking to other players out there. You even questioned the idea of staying. Maybe I should’ve seen this earlier. The way you didn’t believe in gravity or the way you left previous team so abruptly. But no, I did not sink into paranoia, I trusted in you and the small but subtle glimmers of hope the season had. “They’ll figure it out. You’ll figure it out, Kyrie,” I said to myself with great conviction.
Stage 6: The “Maybe-We-Could-Work-It-Out”
The tumultuous season had ended and we had survived. 4th seed in the playoffs against the Indiana Pacers. Despite all that had transpired, I was still confident. We were gonna make the finals and you stay this summer because, like I said, you had always showed up in the bright lights. True to that statement you did. We swept the Pacers in decisive fashion. You dazzled in that series and for once we looked like the team everyone was expecting at the beginning of the season. Up next was the Milwaukee Bucks, the juggernaut first seed with the MVP Greek Freak. But that didn’t matter, you had figured it all out. Game 1 was probably the greatest game I had ever watched in my life. I stayed up until 3am watching you beat the crap out of the Bucks. People were saying the series was over and I believed that wholeheartedly. This was THE moment. Let’s go Celtics.
Stage 7: The Breakup
Never have Paul Pierce and I been more wrong in our lives. One week later and we are down 10 in the 4th quarter of Game 4. Oh how things have changed. For the first time in my life I had seen you struggle. And man, your true colors came out. I no longer saw the silky smooth assassin I had described you as earlier, but rather a selfish player with an ego as big as the pile of bricks you were throwing up. You said you didn’t care. You lied countless times (7-22???). It was a complete disaster. I couldn’t watch the last game anymore. I went to class and checked the score every ten minutes hoping for some godly intervention. I was prepared for the worst. And, of course, I got the worst. We got completely demolished by the Bucks. You walked out of that tunnel for what I predicted to be the last time in that green jersey. It was over.
Stage 8: The Recovery
“F*CK YOU KYRIE”, was all I ever said for the next week. I was angry and I was hurt. My friends roasted me all week. I was a fool to trust in you and the team. The whole world was talking about how you were leaving. Fine with me. New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, I don’t care. I wanted nothing to do with you. That was me for about two weeks. But here I am today and things are better. I still believe that you’re not good for the Celtics, Kyrie. At the same time I know that we are still better with you. Maybe you’ll come back and we can try again. I don’t know. What I do know is that I still want you back, but I also wanna see you suffer. You see the conundrum. Anyway, despite all the ups and downs we had, at the end of the day, you’re still an amazingly talented player and there’s nothing I can do about that. You’re the Kawhi Leonard to Spurs fans, the KD to OKC fans and, now, the one player that I will never get over.