LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Cleveland Cavaliers’ point guard Kyrie Irving turned a lot of heads during his rookie season, which ended with the 20-year-old being named the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Irving’s first off-season has been almost as eventful, starting with his starring role as the fictional character, Uncle Drew in a viral video for Pepsi Max.
The former Duke University star has has little down time since, traveling to Las Vegas, to play for the USA Select Team, in practices and scrimmages against the Team USA Basketball team, helping the 2008 Olympic gold medalists prepare to defend their crown, at this month’s summer games in London, England.
Despite his youth, and relative inexperience, Irving’s skill and competitive nature made quite an impression on some of Team USA’s big name stars, including Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Now Irving is taking aim at the 33-year-old Bryant, who has compiled quite a resume, during his 16 seasons, including five NBA Championships, and two league scoring titles, to go along with his 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player award.
Still, Irving pulled no punches with Bryant, challenging the Los Angeles Lakers guard to a game of one-on-one, with the loser promising to donate $50,000 to the winner’s charity.