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Kyrie Irving says New York fans now support Nets

Nets, Kyrie Irving

It didn’t take long for Kyrie Irving to bounce off a few controversial comments to start off the 2019-20 season with a bang. The new Brooklyn Nets guard was quick to note after Tuesday’s practice that the landscape of New York basketball has taken a turn in recent years.

“Obviously being in New York, there’s nothing like it. The type of attitude that’s built here, the type of players that are build here,” said Irving, a New Jersey native. “I’m a little unique because I’ve gotten the chance to play in New Jersey and New York in the Tri-State area as one of those kids around here, who’s dreaming of playing for his hometown team, which was the Nets.

“Brooklyn is a place where they’ve built up everything around here, different residents are here now, it’s just a whole different culture. But the same people that have supported New York basketball are still here and they support the Brooklyn Nets now. It’s just a respect thing: if you can play, they’ll respect you. If you play hard every single night, they’ll respect you — no matter if you’re in Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Harlem — it doesn’t matter. All they want to see is a show.”

Irving was penned to be the New York Knicks’ signing, but he instead chose to come to the Nets and bring Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan with him, now part of a new-look team with high expectations. Knicks fans were deflated after striking out on elite-level free agents, which has put a large amount of New Yorkers rooting for the Nets instead.

The All-Star guard will be tasked with handling the scoring load this season with Durant on the shelf, but the experience of playing for the team he grew up idolizing could be an irreplaceable one for the 27-year-old guard, hoping to give fans what they came to see.