When the Knicks hoped to see a lot of Kyrie Irving’s face around the Garden, this isn’t what they had in mind.
After last season’s narrative had Irving and Kevin Durant signing with the Knicks, both opted to come to Brooklyn instead. And now a new billboard went up right on the corner next to the Garden featuring the New Jersey-bred Irving’s face, along with the quote “In my heart, I knew I always wanted to play at home.”
Irving grew up in West Orange, and attended New Jersey Nets games at the Meadowlands. Irving set his mind to being an NBA star himself after watching Jason Kidd point the Nets into consecutive NBA Finals in 2002 and ’03.
“I’m going to continue to say it, but it’s a dream come true since I was in 4th grade,” Irving said after pouring in 39 points Monday to lead the Nets to a victory over the Pelicans in Brooklyn. “I left an NBA Finals game and went home and wrote it on sheetrock. And now to be going down in Nets history… I’m always appreciative, but obviously doing it at home it’s a different feeling. But obviously I know the important goals are ahead.”
New @KyrieIrving billboard on the corner of Madison Square Garden 👀
Considering how notoriously thin-skinned Knicks owner James Dolan is — removing fans that suggest he sell the team, having Knick legend Charles Oakley dragged out of the Garden — it bears watching whether he’ll have any kind of reaction to the billboard.
The billboard isn’t a Nets creation. Irving is sponsored by Nike, and the Oregon-based shoe giant is responsible for the billboard.
Dolan complained to NBA officials in 2010 when the Nets put up a billboard on the side of a building visible along Eighth Ave. That one featured smiling former owner Mikhail Prokhorov and then-part owner Jay-Z, with the words “The Blueprint For Greatness.”
Presumably he’d have to call Phil Knight to gripe over this one.
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