“You Let Something Special Get Away”: Shaquille O’Neal Speaks for Kyrie Irving as Brooklyn Return Ends on Sweet Note

Published 02/06/2024, 10:26 PM EST

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Kyrie Irving returned to the Barclays Center but in Dallas colors. Brooklyn is still bitter about him leaving in 2023. That bitterness amplified when the Kyrie-Doncic combination led the Mavs to a 119-107 victory over the Nets. The analysts on TNT Tuesdays acknowledged that Irving was experiencing some emotions going against his former team but he’s remaining consistently remarkable.

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Exactly a year ago, the Nets and Mavs settled on a blockbuster deal that sent Irving to the Mavs with Markieff Morris. The Nets got Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and draft picks in the deal. Last night, Shaquille O’Neal claims Irving played with a spirit of vengeance against the Nets. “You come back to the place you used to play, traded you, you remind them you let something special get away,” ‘Big Diesel’ said after Irving went for 36 points, 5 assists, and 2 rebounds in 40 minutes.

After Shaq’s comment, some fans argued that Kyrie Irving is not part of the one that got away trope. Irving demanded the team trade him or he’d become a free agent. The team listened to his demand. For the first time since the trade, Irving and the Nets clashed in Dallas at the start of the 2023-24 season. Before that game, Irving emphasized, “I was never on bad terms with the organization. I just think there was a lot of chaos and noise, as usual, from the media.”

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Before leaving to the West for the first time in his career, Irving’s stint with the Nets was marred with injuries and controversies. Dallas was the much needed change of pace, something he called, “the best decision of my career.” He went on to say, “Just to be able to ask for a trade, I knew I needed peace of mind.”

TNT Tuesday validates Kyrie Irving’s emotions

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Dallas Mavericks fans were ecstatic about Irving’s acquisition. With an All-Star back court combination of Kyrie and Luka Doncic, their chances at a title looked strong. Ahead of Tuesday’s matchup, Irving expressed his excitement.

It wasn’t only about playing at Barclays again but also bouncing back from an injury that made him miss six games. Irvng said it’s not new for players to face off against their former teams or in former arenas. Regardless, he wants to, “Normalize the emotions that go into those games playing to form a team instead of making it such a big deal.

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He’s getting that validation from the team at NBA on TNT. Jamal Crawford was the most hyped after Kyrie Irving’s big outing. He too saw some strong emotions displayed playing in his old stomping grounds and felt Irving validated that trade tonight. What do you think about Shaq and Crawford’s thoughts on Kyrie’s Barclays return?

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Written by:

Caroline John

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One take at a time

I was 7 when I saw 'Space Jam' but didn't know till the third rewatch the lead actor is actually a living basketball legend. It was while studying journalism that my friend would go on about the Warriors from Golden State. Keen on athletes' personas outside their arenas, it was Stephen Curry's confidence and philanthropy that drew me to follow the news on NBA pros and explore sports media.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair

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