Kyrie Irving returned to Cleveland for the first time since being traded to the Boston Celtics in 2017.
The Brooklyn Nets will finally be at full strength a full week after their blockbuster trade with the Houston Rockets for James Harden. The shooting guard had spent the past two games playing alongside Kevin Durant but without point guard Kyrie Irving. Irving had spent time away from the team for personal reasons but officially hit the court on Wednesday night, and he faced off against the team that drafted him first overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Early in the game, the Cavaliers played a special tribute video to Irving in his first time back in Cleveland since 2017. After it ended, Irving waved to those inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and pointed to his ring finger to signify the NBA championship he and the Cavaliers won together back in 2016.
Irving’s return to Cleveland
It was nothing but love from Irving as he made his return to the Forest City.
Irving pointed to his ring finger because he played a pivotal role in the Cavs winning their first NBA title in 2016. You know, the NBA Finals where they overcame a 3-1 series deficit against the historically-great Golden State Warriors to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. During that playoff run, Irving averaged 25.2 points, 4.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game while shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from the 3-point line.
At the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, Irving requested a trade out of Cleveland to lead a team of his own. The Cavaliers obliged by sending him to the Boston Celtics, and it lasted a total of two seasons before he signed with the Nets in the summer of 2019.
It’s amazing to realize that Irving never returned to Cleveland up until this point. But it finally happened, and Irving looked to have appreciated the grand gesture by his former team of six seasons.