Kyrie Irving's eighth NBA season has been a growing experience.
Throughout the 2018-19 campaign, Irving, 27, has confronted the media dissecting his every move. The newfound elevated media attention has resulted in Kyrie dealing with everything that comes with being a superstar in the league, a role that he avoided while playing in the immense shadow of LeBron James in Cleveland, and dodged in his injury-riddled first year with the Boston Celtics.
As he closes the book on the 2018-19 regular season, Irving spoke with reporters about it all. "A lot of bullsh*t, a lot of just the up-and-downs that just could have been handled better from a professional standpoint, and I'm talking about me personally, I'm not talking about our team," Kyrie said. "I had a lot of questions, a lot of things that weren't being answered straight up about what it takes to be a great professional in this league and I think that the frame of that is just outdated, in terms of what you have to be every single day and it's not that hard."
"The media -- all the stuff that comes with it," he adds. "I think that it's an exciting part of that, that you have to be aware of that but the real part is just, you know, literally what I used to wake up every single morning to do -- that's to put a ball in the hoop and be really great at it."
When asked about how he has managed the issue of questioning himself or the way the relationship between the media and the players is handled, Irving said he previously allowed himself to get too wrapped up in seeking validation for things, like stats. Kyrie says these concerns became "the biggest mistake since I came into this season."
"I would say just goals that I had," Irving said. "Questions of what I was capable of doing and I've always had the answers, and I just looked in the wrong places. I think that that for my career has been the biggest mistake since I came into this season, trying to get validation for stats or other things that really don't have any validation in my life and allowing all of this to bother me. All you guys (media), all the questions -- everything that comes with it is just so irrelevant to what I do on the court and how hard I work every single day."
"That's been the biggest lesson I've learned," he continued. "The way I want to treat my career going forward, rather than thinking about the last eight years of what I've struggled with or thought I was struggling with."
Take a look at his entire response below.