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March 7, 2021

Kyrie Irving

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Team Durant

Press Conference

Team LeBron 170, Team Durant 150

Q. Hi, Kyrie. You had a bit of a hovering cloud covering you this season. Do you feel like you're being misunderstood?

KYRIE IRVING: What do you mean? You said a "hovering cloud." What is that?

Q. You know, there's been a lot of negative news surrounding you this season. Do you feel pressure? A lot, whether it's the media, whether it's the public misunderstanding you? What is your take? What are you feeling?

KYRIE IRVING: I don't know what negativity you're talking about. I live with my family. I have my priorities straight, and I do what I love to do every single day. Anybody that has anything to say about that, then that's on them. I don't really consider it negativity or a hovering cloud, like you said.

You know, this is a fictional reality, this whole basketball thing. I enjoy it. I'm grateful to be able to play it, but it has no effect on my real life at this point. I'm grateful that I matured and found the tools to be able to kind of focus on the commitment, focus on the job, focus on my craft, and just let my actions speak for themselves. Nobody asks me about anything that I'm actually doing out here in the community. They kind of just assume.

And this is not the platform to be talking about it because nobody asked me about it. It's not important to the NBA media.

Q. Hey, Kyrie, kind of tangential to the work that you're doing in the community, what did you think of the NBA's involvement with the historically black colleges, universities? Did you just feel -- I believe there were some HBCU members in the crowd. Did you kind of feel the energy? Were you feeding off that at all?

KYRIE IRVING: Yeah, we're in Atlanta. It's a predominantly black area. A lot of black kings and queens walking around here, whether working in the arena or working behind the scenes or us even playing. So it just felt like a great collection of everybody putting in their hands to make this happen.

So I'm just grateful to be able to be on this platform to share it with the HBCU colleges. A lot of my brothers and sisters, a lot of my relatives out here -- and I don't take that for granted. So a lot more work to be done in the community to shed light on the HCBUs and a lot of the students, a lot of our younger generation that will eventually be the leaders of our world. They start in places like HBCUs.

We've just got to continue to stay the path, stay committed to the work. That's most important. Then the kids will -- they'll follow up for us. Just keep on giving them support. So it's pretty cool.

Q. I know you had said going into this that you never have taken an All-Star berth for granted, and Kevin [Durant] obviously couldn't play with getting hurt. But was it extra special to have two teammates on this team? It's kind of an unusual occurrence. I think the last time in the Eastern Conference was with you and LeBron and Kevin.

KYRIE IRVING: No, we don't want to take that for granted, three guys on one team being all stars. Obviously, with K not being here it felt a little incomplete, but we need him to get healthy for the second half of the season, what really matters.

It takes a lot, a lot of hard work. I don't think a lot of people know what it takes to be a professional athlete and to be distinguished as one of the best in the world. You know, casual fans, casual people that support the NBA, people that support basketball get to see only glimpses of it sometimes of the amount of commitment it takes to be great at anything, but especially at this game.

So it's an honor to be able to put in work and reap the rewards, especially when you reap the rewards with your teammates. I know this will still go down in history, but we just don't want to take this for granted, like I said.

Q. This was your first time playing in the game since they kind of put in the new format last year. Did it change the feel of the game at all compared to your past experiences?

KYRIE IRVING: I mean, it just depends on what you're going to get, whether people are going to play defense or not, whether they're up to giving maximum effort. It's an All-Star Game. A lot of guys care about the second half of the season. So you kind of just got to have a balance of guys that just want to go out there and just compete.

I think we did it in spurts, but when you've got Steph, Dame, those guys shooting half-court threes, threes from the timeline, there's not much you can do. So give credit to them.

Q. Kyrie, I think you guys got four more days off before you got to play some basketball again. What are you going to do with that time?

KYRIE IRVING: Mind my business, man, just like everybody else should be doing. Minding my business and making sure I'm staying committed to helping humanity out. That's it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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