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Sports


What makes Cavs' Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving so special?
Commentator Terry Pluto says Kyrie Irving gives fans hope
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and GRANT ENGLE


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Kyrie Irving shaking hands with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Irving became the second Cavs player to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award
Courtesy of Amanda Rabinowitz
Download (WKSU Only)

Despite missing the playoffs for the second straight year and finishing tied for the third-worst record in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers have plenty to look forward to in the coming years. 

Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving was named the Rookie of the Year for the 2011-12 season Tuesday morning in a landslide vote.

Irving, who was the No. 1 pick in last summer’s NBA Draft, led all rookies with 18.5 points per game this season.

WKSU commentator and Plain Dealer sports writer Terry Pluto talks to Amanda Rabinowitz about what the award means for Cavs fans, the importance of Irving’s upbringing and the contrast between the new star and the hometown boy who “took his talents to South Beach.”

Terry Pluto talks about Kyrie Irving

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A new day

In the aftermath of LeBron James’ departure in the summer of 2010, the Cavs posted the worst record in the NBA the following season. The team even had a stretch of 26 consecutive losses, an NBA record.

But now, Pluto says Irving’s early success can make Cavs fans hopeful again.

“Kyrie gives fans in Cleveland a jersey to wear, a player to cheer for, a guy to feel good about.”

 

Growing up disciplined

During the press conference, Head Coach Byron Scott praised Irving for his work ethic and his desire to improve his game.

Irving thanked his father for being hard on him on and off the court, and said that he would have never made it to the NBA without his father’s discipline.

Pluto had a conversation with Irving’s father, who outlined the various chores he demanded of his son, such as making his bed a certain way, washing and drying dishes and folding laundry.

“This sounds like little stuff, but I’ll tell you, when you’re in your 50s, 60s and 70s, you’re still telling these stories.”

 

Cautiously optimistic

After being spurned by Akron-native LeBron James in 2010, many Cleveland sports fans have been reluctant to love another player who might leave them for the bright lights of a bigger market.

You can count Pluto as a Clevelander who wants to wait and see if Irving sticks around after his rookie contract.

“He mentioned ‘long-term’ twice (in his acceptance speech). I hope it holds.”

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