It was late August in Atlanta, and Kyrie Irving was in a decidedly different environment. Normally, his summer would be planned to the day, between vacations and working out, depending on how far into the postseason his team went, how his commitments to Team USA shaped up and what he wanted to work on to improve his game that offseason.
But 2017 was no ordinary summer. Two months earlier, after the Cavaliers �� the only professional franchise Irving had known in his six years in the NBA �� had been ousted from the NBA Finals by the Warriors, Irving asked Cleveland for a trade out of town. Shortly thereafter, Irving headed to Georgia to begin work on the first feature film of his career, starring his ornery, youngblood-trashing, fundamentals-loving basketball guru of a character, Uncle Drew. Amid all the turmoil, the elderly Uncle Drew was getting his own movie.
And there’s always the ultimate Laker wish: signing Cavs star LeBron James. It is unlikely James will leave Cleveland, but speculation around the league is that if he were to go anywhere, it would be to LA, where he owns a home.
That is a full-blown life right there, being a professional basketball player and acting in the summer.
The movie will hit theaters at the end of June. For Irving, it will be an odd next step for a character he created years ago, one that rose to prominence in a series of advertisements for Pepsi Max. That was strange enough for Irving. But to have Uncle Drew memorialized in celluloid?
Think about the journey that it took to get here and thinking where it started in Jersey, said Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, starring at St. Patrick High School alongside Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. It started with internet shorts, inspiration coming from an old dude taking a skateboard out of a briefcase, and turned into Uncle Drew schooling youngbloods and now it turned into a full-blown movie. Man, it’s awesome.
Z-Bo is also one of the most charitable individuals in the league, and he really spread the love in Memphis. A quick Google search of Zach Randolph charity will bring up at least one profile a year since 2011. Any player whose contributions on and off the court warrant a jersey retirement while that player is still in the league deserves a long tribute at the very least.