Kyrie Irving has over the course of his career won an NBA ring, an Olympic gold medal and FIBA world championship ... and just before he headed to Duke, the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title at St. Patricks High School (now the Patrick School).
With his shoulder impingement limiting his time on the practice court in Brooklyn (until the last week), Irving has spent time at the Hillside, NJ, school, a perennial title contender in the Garden State.
“My life now coming back home has been a tale of kind of inheriting everything that I’ve failed to miss in the last eight years of not being home,” Irving told reporters this week. “So I’m kind of in that role of family stuff, school stuff, youth outreach, changing some social issues, making a social impact around here and just playing for the Nets.”
Adam Zagoria, writing for Forbes Sports Money, says Irving’s involvement at Patrick is about both mentoring their top players ... and helping run practices.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Zagoria reports, he was working with the Celtics who are ranked No. 3 nationally by USA Today and features the No. 1 player in the junior class, Jonathan Kuminga, a 6’8” Congolese big man.
“We had a great week of practice,” said Chris Chavannes, Patrick’s head coach. “He brought great energy, knowledge and enthusiasm. He will be around a lot more when he can. He is vested into the entire school in a very hands on way.”
“He has team of people dedicated to helping the school in a variety of ways. This goes deeper than just donations. He attends meetings and runs the meetings.”
Those donations have included a complete renovation of the school’s gym, which is now named for him. He also outfitted the girls’ team as well as the girls and provided everyone with a backpack complete with Beat head phones. Every year it’s a surprise.
“We’ve been very blessed by him,” Chavannes told Zagoria.
As for mentoring, Kuminga said Irving has given one key piece of advise.
“Keep my circle small, listen to the right people and just keep doing my thing,” Kuminga told Zagoria. “Keep playing my game, working out and everything’s going to be fine.”
Sounds like good advice, particularly that last line.
- Eyeing Return To Court, Kyrie Irving Continues Strong Bond With High School Alma Mater - Adam Zagoria - Forbes Sports Money
- ‘I just want to see these kids do extremely well’: Inside a Kyrie Irving-influenced practice at The Patrick School - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic New York