On March 12, 2015, Irving scored a career-high 57 points, including a buzzer-beating three-point shot to send the Cavaliers into overtime, in a 128–125 win over the San Antonio Spurs. It was the most points for a player in a regular-season game against the defending champion since January 14, 1962, when Wilt Chamberlain scored 62 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a loss to the Celtics. The effort also surpassed the Cavaliers' franchise single-game scoring mark of 56 points, set by LeBron James against the Toronto Raptors on March 3, 2005.
On January 21, he had a career-high eight steals in a 107–99 win over the Miami Heat. On January 26, he recorded 32 points and 10 assists in a 115–111 loss to the Golden State Warriors. It was his 11th double-double with points and assists, becoming the first Celtic with 11 of that kind of double-double since Larry Bird in 1986–87. It was also Irving's sixth straight game with at least 25 points, matching the longest such streak in his career. On March 14, he recorded his second career triple-double with 31 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 126–120 win over the Sacramento Kings, becoming the first Celtics player to record 30-plus points and a triple-double in the same game since Rajon Rondo in February 2012. Two days later, he had 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in a 129–120 win over the Atlanta Hawks. In his first playoff game as a Celtic, Irving became just third player in franchise history (joining Isaiah Thomas in 2015 and Jo Jo White in 1972) to have 20-plus points, five-plus assists and five-plus rebounds in his postseason debut with the team, helping Boston defeat the Indiana Pacers 84–74 in game one of their first-round series. In Game 2 of the series, Irving scored 37 points in a 99–91 win. In Game 1 of the second round, Irving had 26 points and a playoff career high-tying 11 assists in a 112–90 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
At the start of the 2012–13 NBA season, Irving injured his index finger in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks. He played in the Cavaliers' next game, but the injury forced him to miss three weeks of action. In his second game back, while donning a black protective face mask to protect a broken bone he suffered against Milwaukee, Irving scored his then career-high 41 points against the New York Knicks. He became the youngest player in NBA history to score 40 points in Madison Square Garden; he was a year younger than Michael Jordan, who did it in 1985.
Irving was born in Melbourne, Australia, on March 23, 1992; the son of Drederick and Elizabeth Irving, American expats, and the stepson of Shetellia Irving. He has an older sister, Asia, and a younger sister, London. His father, Drederick, played college basketball at Boston University alongside Shawn Teague (father of Jeff and Marquis Teague) and under coach Rick Pitino. After completing his college career, Irving's father moved to Australia to play professionally for the Bulleen Boomers in the SEABL. Irving lived in the Melbourne suburb of Kew before relocating to the United States when he was two years old. He holds dual American and Australian citizenship. His mother, who was Sioux, died of an illness when he was four, and Drederick raised him along with the help of Irving's aunts. He is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and was given his Lakota name, Ȟéla (Little Mountain), in 2018 to honor both his heritage and to recognize the donations he made to the tribe during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Since then, he has continued to honor his Lakota heritage through donations to the tribe, designing Nike shoes dedicated to his tribe as well as burning sage before every game.
Kyrie Andrew Irving (/ˈkaɪri/; Lakota: Ȟéla, lit. 'Little Mountain'; born March 23, 1992) is an American professional basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was named the Rookie of the Year after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. A seven-time All-Star and three-time member of the All-NBA Team, he won an NBA championship with the Cavaliers in 2016.
In the Celtics' season opener on October 16, Irving played in his first game since March and had seven points and seven assists in a 105–87 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. He missed his first nine attempts from the field and did not score until finally connecting on a pair of free throws early in the third quarter. On October 30, after averaging 14 points through the first six games, Irving scored 31 points in a 108–105 win over the Detroit Pistons. On November 8, he scored 18 of his then season-high 39 points in the fourth quarter and overtime of the Celtics' 116–109 win over the Phoenix Suns. On November 16, he recorded a season-high 43 points and 11 assists in a 123–116 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors. It marked his first ever game scoring at least 40 points with 10 or more assists, and became the first Celtics player to do so since Antoine Walker in 2001. On December 12, he scored 38 points in a 130–125 overtime win over the Washington Wizards. On December 25, he recorded 40 points and 10 rebounds in a 121–114 overtime win over the 76ers. On December 29, he scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half of the Celtics' 112–103 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. His 13 assists matched his season best and was one short of his career high. On January 16, he recorded 27 points and a career-high 18 assists in a 117–108 win over the Raptors.
In his debut for the Celtics in their season opener against the Cavaliers on October 17, 2017, Irving had 22 points and 10 assists in a 102–99 loss. He had a chance to tie it with a 3-pointer at the horn but missed. On October 30, 2017, he scored 24 points for the third straight game in helping the Celtics defeat the San Antonio Spurs 108–94. It was the Celtics' first win over the Spurs since 2011. Irving's 128 points in his first six games as a Celtic were the most since Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen each had 131 in 2007. On November 6, 2017, he scored 35 points in a 110–107 win over the Atlanta Hawks, recording his first 30-point game as a Celtic while scoring more points (245) than any player in his first 11 games with Boston. With the win over Atlanta, the Celtics improved to 9–2 with nine straight wins, setting their longest winning streak in seven years.
In his first season, Irving averaged 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game, and led the team to its third New Jersey Tournament of Champions title in four years. In August 2009, he led the USA East to the tournament title in the Nike Global Challenge. He was the MVP with 21.3 points and 4.3 assists per game. The next year, St. Patrick was banned from the state tournament for holding practice prior to the permitted start of the winter sports season. St. Patrick went 24–3 and won the Union County Tournament championship as he finished his senior year with 24.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game.
Irving committed to Duke on October 22, 2009, in a television broadcast on ESPNU. Irving played with the Blue Devils during the 2010–11 basketball season under the guidance of head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Through the first eight games of the season, he averaged 17.4 points per game on 53.2% shooting, 5.1 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals.
On January 19, 2010, Irving was selected to the 2010 Junior National Select Team. The team played at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, on April 10. He was also selected to play in the 2010 McDonald's All-American Game and the 2010 Jordan Brand Classic, where he was named co-MVP with Harrison Barnes. In June 2010, Irving was a part of the United States gold medal-winning team at the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship.
On February 28, 2014, Irving recorded his first career triple-double with 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 99–79 win over the Utah Jazz. This was also the Cavaliers' first triple-double since March 16, 2010. On April 5, 2014, Irving recorded a then career-high 44 points in a 96–94 overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. Irving averaged 20.8 points, 6.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals on the season.
Irving played college basketball for the Duke Blue Devils before joining the Cavaliers in 2011. He won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the 2014 All-Star Game. In the 2016 NBA Finals, Irving made the championship-winning three-point field goal to complete the Cavaliers' historic comeback over the Golden State Warriors. After another Finals appearance in 2017, Irving requested a trade and was dealt to the Boston Celtics. He played as a Celtic for two seasons, after which he signed with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent in 2019. He has also played for the United States national team, with which he won gold at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. In February 2020, he was elected vice-president of the National Basketball Players Association, replacing Pau Gasol.
In May 2011, Irving made a promise to his father to finish his bachelor's degree at Duke within five years. However, in 2016, having not achieved his degree, he claimed he was putting his plans on hold, stating, "when I leave the game of basketball, then I'll focus on the next step of my life". In 2015, he launched his PSD Underwear collection.
In 2012, Irving played the role of Uncle Drew in a series of Pepsi Max advertisements. He wrote and directed episode 2, in which he starred alongside Bill Russell and Kevin Love, and episode 3, in which he starred alongside Nate Robinson and Maya Moore. Irving also wrote and directed episode 4 of "Uncle Drew", which was released in November 2015, and in which he starred in alongside Baron Davis, J. B. Smoove, and Ray Allen. In 2017, the Uncle Drew advertisement series became a skit inside an old school diner featuring Pepsi in its current design, stored in a fridge with its original logo. Irving has also starred as the character in a feature film, Uncle Drew, which also features former NBA stars, and was released in June 2018.
In 2012, Irving was in contention for a position on the Australian team for the 2012 Olympics. However, he elected not to represent his nation of birth, instead focusing on selection for the United States national team for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Irving appeared on an episode of the Disney XD series Kickin' It in 2012, and guest starred on Family Guy, lending his voice for the season 17 (2018) episode "Big Trouble in Little Quahog".
At a Las Vegas Cavaliers practice on July 14, 2012, Irving sustained a broken right hand after reportedly slapping it against a padded wall after committing a turnover. "I am a little disappointed", he said. "I have to be more responsible about my health. It was just crazy. It happened so fast." It was announced that Irving would require hand surgery on July 18.
On July 10, 2014, Irving signed a five-year, $90 million contract extension with the Cavaliers. His contract extension came in the wake of LeBron James's return to Cleveland and Kevin Love's trade request from Minnesota, as the trio teamed up to start a new "Big Three" in Cleveland. After a shaky start to the season, in which they fell to a record of 5–7 after a November 22 loss to Toronto, the Cavaliers went on an eight-game winning streak during which Irving averaged 19.3 points per game, including a 37-point game against the New York Knicks on December 4.
On November 20, 2017, he scored 10 of his season-high 47 points in overtime as the Celtics rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat the Dallas Mavericks 110–102, extending their winning streak to 16 games. The streak ended at 16 games with a loss to the Miami Heat two days later. On January 21, 2018, he scored 40 points in a 103–95 loss to the Orlando Magic. The Celtics had accumulated a 34–10 record by mid-January, but their loss to Orlando was their season-worst third straight defeat. On January 27, 2018, he scored 37 points on 13-for-18 shooting with five 3-pointers in a 109–105 loss to the Golden State Warriors. On February 28, 2018, Irving helped the Celtics improve to 4–0 following the All-Star break with a 134–106 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Irving led Boston with 34 points, making 13 of 18 shots overall and going 4-for-6 from three-point range in the first three quarters. On March 24, 2018, he was ruled out for three to six weeks after undergoing a minimally-invasive procedure to remove a tension wire in his left knee. Less than two weeks later, he was ruled out for the entire postseason, with a recovery time of four to five months, after another procedure was scheduled to remove two screws from his patella that were inserted in 2015 to repair a fracture he suffered during that year's NBA Finals.
On August 27, 2015, Irving was ruled unlikely to be ready for opening night of the 2015–16 season due to the left kneecap fracture he suffered in Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals. He made his season debut on December 20, scoring 12 points in 17 minutes as a starter against the Philadelphia 76ers. On January 6, he scored a season-high 32 points in a 121–115 win over the Washington Wizards. On February 8, he tied his season high of 32 points and tied his career high of 12 assists in a 120–100 win over the Sacramento Kings. Two days later, he topped his season high mark with 35 points in a 120–111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Irving enjoys reading and has a journal. He also likes to sing, dance, and play the baritone sax. His godfather is former NBA player Rod Strickland. His cousin, Isaiah Briscoe, was a highly rated basketball player who played at the University of Kentucky before declaring for the 2017 NBA draft. Irving and his ex-girlfriend have a daughter together, Azurie Elizabeth Irving, who was born on November 23, 2015. Azurie's middle name, Elizabeth, was given to her in honor of Irving's late mother.
In 2016, Irving helped Team USA win the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. With the win, he became just the fourth member of Team USA to capture the NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal in the same year, joining LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen.
On October 25, 2016, after receiving his first championship ring prior to the season opener, Irving scored a game-high 29 points in a 117–88 win over the New York Knicks. Three days later, he scored 26 points and hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 44.3 seconds remaining to lift the Cavaliers to a 94–91 win over the Toronto Raptors. On November 27, he scored 19 of his then season-high 39 points in the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers' 112–108 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. On December 5, he had a career-high 10th straight game with at least 20 points, finishing with 24 points in a 116–112 win over the Toronto Raptors. On December 21, he had 31 points and a career-high 13 assists in a 113–102 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. On January 23, 2017, he scored 35 of his season-high 49 points in the second half of the Cavaliers' 124–122 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans—their fifth loss in seven games. On February 1, he set a new career high with 14 assists in a 125–97 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. On March 3, he had a 43-point effort in a 135–130 win over the Atlanta Hawks. In the game, the Cavaliers set the NBA regular-season record with 25 three-pointers. On March 19, he had a 46-point effort in a 125–120 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. On April 9, he had a 45-point effort in a 126–125 overtime loss to Atlanta.
In November 2016, Irving tweeted his support for the water protectors at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation who were demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Protesters said the pipeline, which crosses under the river and across the region's aquifer, violates treaty law and sacred burial grounds on the land at Standing Rock; there is urgent concern that the crude oil passing through the pipeline threatens the safety of the drinking the water supply of not only the Standing Rock community, but that of many surrounding communities, both Native and non-Native. In August 2018, Irving and his older sister were honored with a "welcome home" ceremony at Standing Rock, acknowledging their family ties to the community. Irving's mother was a member of the tribe and lived on the reservation until her adoption at a young age. Their late grandmother and great-grandparents also have ties to the reservation community.
In February 2017, Irving stated in an interview for a podcast that he believes that the Earth is flat. In a later interview, he was less forceful in advancing his flat Earth belief, encouraging people to "do their own research" into the topic. In September 2017, Irving denied these claims and said that media misunderstood him as he was joking. However, in a June 2018 interview, when asked if he would admit that the world is round, he said "I don't know. I really don't", and added that people should "do [their] own research for what [they] want to believe in" because "Our educational system is flawed". In October 2018, Irving apologized for his original flat Earth comments.
In July 2017, Irving requested the Cavaliers to trade him, reportedly wanting to be more of the focal point of his own team instead of continuing to play alongside LeBron James. The next month, on August 22, he was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Žižić, and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round draft pick. Eight days later, the Celtics agreed to send the Cavaliers a 2020 second-round draft pick via the Miami Heat to complete the trade, as compensation for Thomas' failed physical.
Starting with the 2016–17 season, Irving moved to more of a plant-based diet, which he also referenced in a December 2017 Nike ad.
Outside of competing, Irving is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and is an active philanthropist to his Lakota people on the reservation. He has written, directed and acted in a number of advertisements as the role of "Uncle Drew", which became a feature film in 2018. He has starred as himself in Kickin' It (2012) and has done voicework in We Bare Bears (2016) and Family Guy (2018).
On July 7, 2019, Irving signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. On October 23, 2019, Irving debuted for the Nets with 50 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists in a 127–126 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, becoming the first player in NBA history to score 50 points or more in a team debut. Irving became the seventh player in franchise history to score 50 points or more in a single game, and joins Stephon Marbury (2001) as the only one to also record 15 combined rebounds and assists. He also scored 25 of the Nets' 56 points in the first half.
Irving is a major humanitarian and has donated to various social causes through his K.A.I. Family Foundation. In 2020, he donated a home to the family of George Floyd. Irving paid off student debt for students from Lincoln University. Irving committed $1.5 million to help pay WNBA players who opted out of playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Irving donated over $300,000 to food banks and with City Harvest on his birthday. He donated 17 pallets of food to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Irving missed 26 games due to a right shoulder injury, and returned on January 12, 2020, scoring 21 points on a 10-of-11 shooting in the 108–86 win over the Atlanta Hawks. On January 25, Irving scored 45 points, also recording six rebounds and seven assists, to lead Brooklyn to a 121–111 overtime win over the Detroit Pistons. The next day, the Nets were scheduled to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, however Irving left the arena prior to tip-off, upon learning of the death of Kobe Bryant. On January 31, Irving scored a season-high 54 points on 19-of-23 shooting in a 133–118 win over the Chicago Bulls. On February 20, it was announced that Irving would undergo season-ending surgery on his injured shoulder.
In the Nets' season opener on December 22, Irving had 25 points, four assists, and four rebounds in a 125–99 win over the Golden State Warriors. On December 25, Irving had 37 points and eight assists in a 123–95 win over his former team, the Boston Celtics. On February 18, 2021, Irving was named an Eastern Conference starter for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, his seventh selection. On May 6, Irving had a season-high 45 points in a 113–109 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. With the conclusion of the regular season, Irving became the ninth player in NBA history to join the 50–40–90 club, representing the shooting percentages from the field (.506), the three-point line (.402), and the free throw line (.922). Irving also became only the fourth player to average over 25.0 points, while making the 50–40–90 club, the others being Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Larry Bird.
In April 2021, Irving announced that he is committed to Islam (and other religions), saying "For me, in terms of my faith and what I believe in, being part of the Muslim community, being committed to Islam, and also just being committed to all races and cultures, religions, just having an understanding and respect".
Irving sprained his right ankle after landing on Giannis Antetokounmpo's foot during Game 4 of the Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks on June 13, 2021. Head coach Steve Nash said that he would miss Game 5 against the Bucks on June 15. The Nets went on to lose the series in seven games.