Have you been perfecting your three-point shot in your backyard? Chances are that your newest neighbor will sink a few more than you.
After inking a four-year $142 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets, six-time All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving is moving back to his hometown of West Orange. While multiple news outlets reported that he’d be making his home in South Orange, several local realtors have confirmed that he’ll be heading to the township right next door.
Irving was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1992 while his father was playing professional basketball throughout Australia. The family relocated to West Orange when Irving was two years old. He went on to play impressive basketball at Montclair Kimberley Academy, St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, and Duke University.
The Nets team played a significant role in his love for basketball. Before the N.B.A. franchise relocated to Brooklyn in 2012, they played for almost 35 years in nearby East Rutherford at what was then called the Continental Airlines Arena. Irving grew up watching point guard Jason Kidd lead the New Jersey Nets to consecutive playoff finals in 2001-2 and 2002-3. While the Nets lost those series against the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs, Irving hopes to bring a championship to his “hometown” franchise in the very near future.
After being drafted as the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011, Irving began racking up further accolades. He promptly won the N.B.A Rookie of the Year Award, went on to win a championship with the Cavs in 2016, and won an Olympic Gold Medal while playing on Team USA in 2016. Along with Lebron James, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen, he became only the fourth player in history to win an N.B.A. championship as well as a gold medal in the same year.
Irving’s standout clutch play took place in 2016 while playing alongside Lebron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers. With only 53 seconds left during Game 7 of the N.B.A. finals against the Golden State Warriors, Irving drained a 3-pointer which gave the Cavs the lead and their first championship in franchise history.
Before agreeing to a contract with the Nets, Irving spent two chaotic years with the Boston Celtics. But now, he’s set to be part of a major transformation of the Nets. In addition to Irving, the team acquired ten-time N.B.A. All-Star Kevin Durant. After beginning his N.B.A. career in 2007, Durant would become the franchise face of the Oklahoma City Thunder and would go on to win two N.B.A. championships with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018.
Irving and Durant are close friends and have been looking for an opportunity to play for the same team. “The best place to merge their talents, above all, is what Durant and Irving were looking for, according to a person familiar with their plans who was not authorized to discuss them publicly. Their determination to play together proved even stronger, in the end, than many league observers expected,” writes Marc Stein.
The duo is going to have to wait for some time until they officially walk onto the same court as starting players. Durant, who ruptured his Achilles tendon last month during Game 5 of the N.B.A. championship against Toronto, will likely be sidelined until 2020.
While there aren’t any plans at the moment for a “Nets Jitney” to shuttle Irving’s new neighbors to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, expect a lot of anticipation to surround what could be the most exciting team in the N.B.A.