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Kyrie Irving helped lead the Cavs to the 2016 NBA Championship by scoring 26 points in Game 7 and nailing one of the biggest shots in NBA history when he splashed a cold-blooded game-winning 3-pointer over Stephen Curry.
Kyrie Irving explains his legendary shot. #MambaForever
— Ball Don't Stop (@balldontstop) June 20, 2016
Irving went onto explain that all he had on his mind at the time of that shot was “Mamba Mentality”. It turns out, Kyrie was talking to his idol Kobe Bryant a lot through the 2015-16 season and the NBA Playoffs. Following the win, Irving met with his family and immediately FaceTimed Kobe. Via ThePostGame.com:
“I actually FaceTimed Kobe after the game as soon as I got in the locker room,” Irving says. “Other than seeing my dad and my sister right after we won, FaceTiming him was just a great thing, knowing how he has won five and I just won my first. Then realizing how hard it is just to win one, my respect for him is already high, but it went to another level knowing that he’s got five of them. I’m trying to get a second one.”
“[Bryant] was telling me congrats,” Irving says of the FaceTime. “I had been speaking to him throughout the entire playoffs and during the season. During the Finals, we didn’t really talk as much, because for me, I wanted to experience it full on, and if I needed his help, I would reach out to him. He would send me some texts here and there, but mainly he kind of let me be, and let me grow into my own space.”
“young players like Irving,” Bryant advised he “create conflict on their team so nobody ever gets comfortable.”
“I would say the last two years has been great just from a mental aspect, as well as being a pupil and a student of the game, and also of his,” Irving says of playing in Bryant’s era. “I’m really just watching and studying as much as possible to make sure I am getting the full potential out of myself and my teammates, and ultimately, winning basketball games and becoming the best player I can be.”