Kyrie Irving: Uncle Drew, Little Mountain, and Enigmatic NBA Superstar

Martin Gitlin. Univ. of Nebraska, $26.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4962-1349-5
Sports journalist Gitlin (Powerful Moments in Sports) misses the mark in this outdated and critical biography of NBA point guard Kyrie Irving, who in 2011 was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gitlin traces the arc of Irving’s life, from his upbringing in West Orange, N.J., where he learned the game via his father who played for Boston University, through his success at Duke University, and culminating in his making the key basket in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 championship run. Gitlin posits that his subject is more interesting than other players by virtue of his off-court pursuits (he plays the saxophone and wrote, directed, and starred in a few Pepsi Max commercials), but provides only superficial insight into those aspects of Irving’s life, mostly via secondary sources. Clunky writing (“One might argue that the paradox of Kyrie Irving negatively reflects modern thought”) and dramatization (he imagines the thoughts of a 13-month-old Irving) distract from the narrative. Gitlin disparagingly argues that Irving is a selfish player and endeavors to be a team’s alpha player, but this argument doesn’t seem to hold given Irving’s recent signing with the Brooklyn Nets to join superstar Kevin Durant. Ultimately, Gitlin sheds little new light on Irving in this disappointing biography. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/24/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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