Kyrie Irving is very happy to be in Boston. After requesting a trade from the Cavaliers earlier this summer, the All-Star point guard landed in about as good a position as he could have hoped when he asked Cleveland to deal him.
The Celtics are a playoff team with two auxiliary stars around him in Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, which means he doesn’t have to start over when it comes to competing. Boston earned the East’s top seed a year ago, and with their new trio on board, the Celtics have their eyes on the Finals and toppling LeBron James and the Cavs for the first time in nearly a decade.
Beyond the on court reasoning for Kyrie being happy, he also seems to genuinely enjoy being in the city of Boston rather than Cleveland. With the Celtics set to open their season back in Cleveland, one would think Irving would probably avoid saying anything inflammatory about the city where he started career, but in his excitement about being in Boston, he just can’t help but compare the two.
So, when speaking to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer ahead of the Celtics’ preseason game with the Hornets on Wednesday night, Irving gushed about how much he loves being in Boston and how different the two cities are, with one line in particular that will especially not endear him to his former fans in Cleveland.
“It’s exciting to be back on the East Coast,” said Irving, who grew up in New Jersey. “It’s fast-paced. A lot of different cultures, food and people. You get it all, especially in Boston. You would go to Cleveland, and it would be at nighttime, and things would be going on, but you just see a vast difference.”
A difference, too, Irving said between Boston and Cleveland as sports cities: “Boston, I’m driving in and (thinking), ‘I’m really playing in a real, live sports city?’”
No one likes to hear negative things said about their city, but it’s an especially sensitive topic in Cleveland, which gets talked down so often despite the people who live there having so much pride for their city. So, while Irving may very well have just been trying to compliment his new city and is genuinely enjoying being there, this certainly reads as a slight to Cleveland.
Irving was always going to get booed in his return to the Q, but they might be just a little bit louder after these remarks.