NBA Basketball

'It's just hoops': Kyrie downplays season opener vs. Cavs

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Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports / Action Images

The Boston Celtics will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers to open the 2017-18 season, which sets the stage for Kyrie Irving to step into the spotlight.

Emotions will be running high in Quicken Loans Arena as the Cavs faithful welcome back Irving, their former favorite son that spurned them this summer with a trade request that saw him shipped to Boston.

Reactions might have been mixed had Irving left on more amicable terms given everything he’s done for the franchise, but after his recent barbs at the city of Cleveland, he should expect a hostile homecoming.

Of course, none of that worries the newest Celtic. He’s not anxious at all.

“No. Why would it be? It’s just hoops,” Irving told Marc Spears of The Undefeated. “It’s just hooping. I understand the magnitude.”

“I know what it is going to entail in terms of marketing, whatever the case may be, to garner up this energy to make people feel a certain type of way. I get all that. It’s part of the game. It’s been a part of the game for a while. But, it’s just two hoops and a basketball,” Irving added.

Irving saw the Cavaliers at their lowest point after LeBron James left for South Beach, and he’s seen them at their glorious apex when Irving made the dagger three to snap Cleveland’s 45-year title drought. None of this will be new to him.

“It’s all love no matter what,” Irving said. “I have heard boos at times to hearing cheers in the parade. I’ve been in the championship parade as well as being down 30 in ‘Q Arena.’ So, I’ve heard it all. It’s just good to be there and hoop against a great team like the Cavs.”

Irving added that although relations are frayed at the moment, he does truly cherish the chapter of his life spent in Cleveland.

“I’m appreciative of (my career in Cleveland). The multiple legacies I want to live in my life, Cleveland is definitely part of one. Whether it’s appreciated or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I think the effect, the actual time I spent there, is what matters most and actually trying to be remembered for what happened,” Irving said.

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