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Kyrie Irving says farewell to Cleveland in video; teammates not singled out

By MARLA RIDENOUR • Sep 1, 2017 at 12:57 AM

 

Kyrie Irving posted a farewell video to Cleveland fans Thursday, but made no mention of Cavaliers star LeBron James.

With the trade between the Cavaliers and Boston Celtics that sent four-time All-Star Irving to Boston completed Wednesday night, Irving posted a "special video just strictly to Cleveland."

Irving asked Cavs owner Dan Gilbert to be traded on July 7, seeking to escape James' shadow and become the focal point elsewhere. The Cavs accommodated him on Aug. 22, acquiring Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, small forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected 2018 first-round pick. On Wednesday, the Celtics added the Miami Heat's 2020 second-round selection to get the Cavs to sign off on the deal after concerns arose over the torn labrum in Thomas' right hip.

In his video, Irving mentioned his teammates as a group, but none specifically. Nor did he bring up his current coach Tyronn Lue or past coaches David Blatt, Byron Scott or Mike Brown.

"To my teammates, crazy stories, crazy experiences and unbelievable human beings, man. I know how this brotherhood goes, man. All love," he said.

Irving, 25, didn't get too deeply into his motives for asking to be traded.

"There are no other ulterior reasons other than being happy and wanting to be somewhere where you feel like it's an environment that's conducive for you maximizing your potential as a human being and as a player perfecting their craft," he said. "I put a lot of hours in and a lot of work into just trying to accomplish things that I have dreamt of as a kid."

Irving did mention Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and his son Nick, managing partner Nate Forbes and vice chairman Jeff Cohen, whom Irving referred to as "The Bald Guy," and their families.

"They took a chance on a 19-year-old kid coming off a stubbed right toe, of being in a very, very immature place at the time," Irving said in the video. "What 19-year-old doesn't take their time and make decisions? I spent part of my life and my years in the NBA in such a great environment in Cleveland, being there from the start in 2011 and now it coming to an end in 2017, which is still crazy in my mind."

Irving made the game-winning shot in the 2016 NBA Finals that gave Cleveland its first championship in 52 years, but Irving sounded as if he cherished genuine connections made with people during his six years with the Cavs just as much.

"I just want to say all the individuals that I met over my six-year span, I don't say it as if this is ending friendship or anything like that, you guys understand how much those moments meant to me," Irving said. "Connecting with everyone because it matters, and I care and I love the world and I love people and I love being around people. As guarded as I am and as everyone likes to say that I have a wall up, spending two minutes or five minutes asking someone genuinely about themselves is what I truly care about. To be able to share those moments with everyone in Cleveland and everyone in Ohio and doing something that was an unbelievable experience for all of us, I still can't believe just the feats that we reached in a six-year span. I'm truly grateful and I'm thankful.

"I love all you guys' support and all you guys' love over the course of the amount of years I was in Cleveland. I say that because I know the journey continues from this point on. There will be nothing but love that I have for the organization and what we got to be a part of because there are some special individuals there and I'm shouting out you guys. You guys know who you are."

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(c)2017 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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