DALLAS — Kyrie Irving heard the outside noise. He knew what people were saying about him after dealing with drama on the Brooklyn Nets. Irving understood that there were doubters even following his trade to the Dallas Mavericks. But the Mavs are preparing for the playoffs and Irving has silenced his critics.

Irving appears to be happy in Dallas. The Mavs struggled in 2022-23 and missed the playoffs despite acquiring Kyrie, but they quickly turned the chapter. Dallas is hoping to make a deep playoff run in the 2024 postseason. Following Thursday's practice, Irving got real on his critics' previous comments.

“I think if you look at some of the guys on our team, we've dealt with a lot of naysayers, a lot of critics, a lot of noise,” Irving said on Thursday. “Just like other teams, but I think specifically with us. Somehow I was called a chaos agent for a little bit. And there was this narrative that I’m a locker room cancer. All these things that ended up becoming… these run-a-show media pundits. I didn’t want to be the butt of anyone’s joke. I don’t mind being the butt of anyone’s joke, but not at the expense or consequence of my teammates success and our success as an organization.

“I've just taken a lot of hits, learned how to hit back. Learned how to protect myself. Learned how to protect my bothers and my sisters. Keep the main thing the main thing.”

Kyrie Irving has found a home in Dallas

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) stands on the court against the Golden State Warriors before the start of the second quarter at the Chase Center.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving made his NBA debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2011-12 season. He would end up establishing himself as a superstar in Cleveland. The Cavs built a big three around Kyrie after bringing LeBron James back and adding Kevin Love.

Things were good in Cleveland for the most part. The team won the 2016 NBA Finals, and Irving, of course, played a pivotal role in their championship victory. However, Irving joined the Boston Celtics in 2017-18.

Irving's time in Boston did not go according to plan. He later joined the Brooklyn Nets, a team that built a star-studded roster around Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden. Harden ended up seeking a change-of-scenery and the Nets traded him for Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Again, the Nets did not meet their expectations in the end. Irving and Durant both decided that it was time to move on which led to their trades last year. Kyrie Irving's critics did not believe that he would be able to avoid drama in Dallas, and they were not sure if the fit alongside Luka Doncic would work.

So far, Irving has silenced those critics with the Mavs. The majority of the discussion surrounding Irving has been in reference to basketball. Meanwhile, Doncic and Irving have emerged as one of the best duos in the entire NBA.

Kyrie is still a superstar

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) goes up for a basket beside Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) during the first half at Paycom Center.
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The 32-year-old has found a way to still record impressive numbers while sharing the ball with Luka Doncic on a consistent basis.

In 2023-24, despite being limited to 58 games because of injury, Irving averaged 25.6 points per game on 49.7 percent field goal and 41.1 percent three-point shooting. The veteran guard added 5.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per outing.

Additionally, Irving consistently took care of business in clutch moments. He never backed down and connected on no shortage of huge shots for the Mavericks.

Kyrie Irving is going to continue to silence his critics in the 2024 NBA playoffs.