Kevin Love Says Kyrie Irving's Cavs Jersey Should Be Retired: 'Not Even a Question'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 27, 2022

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 13: Kevin Love #0 and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers look on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on January 13, 2017 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Kyrie Irving's former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love believes the Cavs should retire Kyrie's No. 2 jersey in the future.

After Irving helped lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 125-117 road win over Love and the Cavaliers on Monday night, Love was asked if he felt Kyrie's jersey should be retired in Cleveland, and he made it clear to reporters that he feels Irving is more than deserving of that honor:

"Without a doubt. Absolutely. Right away, after his career ends. It's not even a question to me. He needs to be up there. He made the biggest shot in franchise history and one of the most important shots in Finals history when you consider how it all went down—what it meant for the city, what it meant for his legacy, LeBron's legacy and everything else, including that Golden State team that became a dynasty and was historically great."

Irving arrived in Cleveland in 2011 as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, and he went on to spend six productive seasons with the Cavs, earning three All-Star selections during his tenure.

Kyrie and the Cavs reached a new level in 2014 when LeBron James signed with the team via free agency and Love arrived in a trade, making them instant championship contenders.

James spent four seasons in Cleveland during his second stint with the Cavs, and Cleveland went to the NBA Finals each time, winning one of them. Irving was part of all but one of those Finals teams and played a huge role in the Cavaliers winning their first and only NBA title in 2016.

As mentioned by Love, Irving hit the game-winning shot in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, cementing his place in Cavaliers and NBA history.

Perhaps the only reason for any doubt regarding Irving eventually getting his jersey retired by the Cavs is the fact that he forced his way out of Cleveland following the 2016-17 season and was traded to the rival Boston Celtics.

Irving has also been the subject of off-court headlines in recent years during his tenure with the Nets. His refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine caused him to miss many games last season, and he was disciplined by the team this season for promoting a movie with antisemitic themes and misinformation on his Twitter page.

The latter even led to Nike dropping Irving, ending what had been a fruitful partnership for 11 years.

While Irving received a negative reaction from Cavs fans during Monday's game and may continue to be booed by them for the rest of his career, there is no denying his impact on the franchise, which could open the door for reconciliation down the line.