What Kyrie Irving learned from Celtics season with ‘a lot of bulls—‘


Leave it to Kyrie Irving to provide the unofficial tagline for the Boston Celtics' 2018-19 regular season.

Irving was asked at Wednesday's practice to reflect on the Celtics' 49-33 campaign, and he didn't beat around the bush.

"A lot of bulls---," Irving told reporters.

But Irving quickly made clear this wasn't another call-out of his teammates or coaches, but rather a reflection of his own struggles.

"A lot of the up-and-downs that just could have been handled better from a professional standpoint. I'm talking about me personally, I'm not talking about our team," Irving said. "I had a lot of questions, a lot of things that weren't being answered, straight up, about what it takes to be a great professional in this league.

"I think that the frame of that is just outdated, in terms of what you have to be every single day. It's not that hard, you know what I mean? I think the media and all the stuff that comes with it, I think that it's an exciting part of that that you've got to be aware of. But the real part is literally what I used to wake up every single morning to do, and that's to put a ball in the hoop and be really great at it."      

Irving has had a tense relationship with the media this season, lamenting about its microscopic scrutiny of his pending free agency (especially over that Kevin Durant hallway video) and later apologizing for how he's handled things.

When asked a follow-up about those "questions" he had, the 27-year-old suggested he may have been taking advice from the wrong people.

"I would say just goals that I had," Irving said. "Questions of what I was capable of doing and I've always had the answers, and I just looked in the wrong places. I think that that for my career has been the biggest mistake since I came into this season, trying to get validation for stats or other things that really don't have any validation in my life and allowing all of this to bother me.

"All you guys (media), all the questions -- everything that comes with it is just so irrelevant to what I do on the court and how hard I work every single day. That's been the biggest lesson I've learned. The way I want to treat my career going forward, rather than thinking about the last eight years of what I've struggled with or thought I was struggling with."

Personal growing pains aside, Irving was brilliant on the court this regular season, posting career highs in several stat categories in what may have been his best NBA campaign yet. But both the good and the bad will be thrown out the window Sunday, when the C's begin their first-round playoff matchup with the Indiana Pacers.

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