In an NBA All-Star Game where the Eastern Conference put up 163 points, the most ever by a single team, Kyrie Irving was the central reason for the East pulling off the win.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reported that Irving won the award and what the significance of it is:
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving wins the NBA All-Star Game MVP. First Cavalier to win the award since LeBron James in 2008.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 17, 2014
According to Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, LeBron James had a few thoughts of his own on the Cavs' newest star:
LeBron James on Kyrie Irving: "Kyrie's special. It's just that simple....He has the total package. I've always known that."— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) February 17, 2014
Irving finished the game with 31 points and 14 assists, accounting for a huge portion of the East's offense in a 163-155 win. The victory also turned the tide, as the Western Conference had won the last three All-Star Games.
Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio believes this same type of performance from Irving would be possible on a regular basis for the Cavs if their offense catered more to his skill set:
I know it's just All-Star game, but Kyrie's performance, to me, is why #Cavs should be a run-and-gun-and-have-lotsa-fun team first.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) February 17, 2014
While Irving's output was miraculous, there was another candidate from the game that could be considered a slight snub. Carmelo Anthony finished the game with 30 points, but didn't have the same type of impact as Irving did for the East.
However, as ESPN Stats & Info notes, Anthony did break a record of his own:
Carmelo Anthony has set a new NBA All-Star Game record for 3-pointers made with 7. Previous record: 6 by Mark Price & LeBron James.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 17, 2014
Anthony finished the game with eight three-pointers, but it wasn't enough to steal the MVP award away from Irving, who was sensational both as a scorer and facilitator.
In just his third season, Irving has been one of the emerging superstars in the league and proved to any doubters that he had coming into the game that he is plenty capable of holding his own with the other NBA All-Stars.
The next obstacle for Irving might be even more difficult than winning MVP in the All-Star Game over players like James and Kevin Durant, as Cleveland sportscaster Kenny Roda points out:
Irving hasn't been on a great team since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2011, with the Cavaliers never living up to expectations. But after a breakout performance in the All-Star Game and his smooth play helping his Eastern Conference team turn the tables in the second half, his popularity will continue to rise.
Though Cleveland may not be in contention to make the playoffs this season, Irving proved once again why he will be one of the best players in the league for years to come.
The 21-year-old superstar can even outshine some of the biggest names in the game on any given night. Irving confirmed that once again by winning the All-Star Game MVP.