Unfortunately, injuries have prevented the Nets from debuting their new All-Star duo together in the 2019-20 NBA season. Unlike Durant, Irving was able to suit up for 20 games until being sidelined with a season-ending shoulder injury.
Their underwhelming stint during that time has resulted in plenty of concern regarding when Brooklyn will be able to kickstart the resurgence. However, one of Irving’s former teammates feels the team is in good hands moving forward.
“Kyrie’s an assassin. He is a Mamba disciple. … All he would do is watch old video clips of Kobe, old clips of Jordan.”
This is certainly some heavy praise coming from Jefferson, who spent two and a half seasons as Irving’s teammate with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The comments are also indicative of just how much Irving took away from his former mentor when it comes to how they spend their downtime.
Bryant’s competitive edge and dedication to his craft was coined as the ‘Mamba Mentality’ and it is an attribute that very few in the NBA are deemed worthy of possessing. It is safe to say that Irving is one of them after his close relationship with the late Bryant was well-documented during his rise to stardom and he remains as one of the most notable players carrying on his teachings when it comes to putting in the work both on and off the court.
Of course, these are efforts that often go unnoticed in the midst of a difficult career stretch. Irving is still trying to find his footing with a new team and all the challenges that come with having to recover from injuries.
Irving has heard all the criticisms about his leadership potential and the doubts about whether or not he can still perform at an elite level. Fortunately, there is good reason to be optimistic about a comeback considering how well-equipped he is to deal with these situations.