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February 16, 2014

Kyrie Irving


East – 163
West – 155

THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions.

Q.  Congratulations on the MVP.  This being your first start, how special is this for you to win the MVP trophy your first start?
KYRIE IRVING:  It was definitely special.  Just being out here with all these great athletes and playing in front of a great crowd in New Orleans, and then the game got competitive.  You think as athletes we all want to make the game competitive, especially as an All‑Star Game.
It could get out of hand, but both teams competed until the end.  And the East wanted to win this one.  We took this one personal a little bit.
But at the end of the day it was about having fun and the camaraderie and the friendships out there and just being in front of those gracious fans.

Q.  At one point Coach Vogel said I know it's an All‑Star Game, but get back on defense and match up.  Did you guys laugh until the final few minutes?
KYRIE IRVING:  No, as competitors you got to kind of take that personal.  Especially when the coach, he starts to get a little edgy a little bit.  It's still an All‑Star Game, but we wanted to be competitive.
And I think the fans just wanted to see a competitive game.  You saw Kevin and LeBron going at it and me playing against Steph or James going against Paul.  There's so many great matchups out there, and I think the fans want to see us go at one another.
You look at some of the past All‑Star Games and those guys were in full‑blown sweats by the end of the game and really trying to win the game.  And I think that's what it's all about, fans just wanting to see us complete.

Q.  What did LeBron tell you there at the end about holding the trophy up?
KYRIE IRVING:  I don't know, it wasn't just LeBron, it was just a combination of all the All‑Stars there, all those great guys, they were just telling me the proper All‑Star pose.  They were telling me to hold it above my head and show the fans.
I honestly thought I did the interview first.  So some of the All‑Star Games I watched before the MVPs usually did the interview and hold it up.  But I guess I was wrong.

Q.  The first part of the season hasn't gone the way that the team and you have wanted it.  Do you think that now with winning the MVP you can have a fresh start moving on to the second half of the season for you and the team?
KYRIE IRVING:  Oh, well, coming into this weekend, we had had a lot of momentum coming in as a team.  And regardless of whether I won MVP of this game or not, my focus level is going to remain the same after the All‑Star break, and that's trying to get as many wins as possible.
I feel we're doing a better job coming together as a team and competing.  And we got four wins in a row coming in, which was big for us and big for our morale.
So after this break, not too much of a break for me, but going into these next few games, just got to turn it up a little bit.

Q.  You won the MVP Award, the Rising Stars Challenge two years ago, you won the Three‑Point contest last year, MVP this year.  Which event are you looking forward to winning next year?
KYRIE IRVING:  Whatever event they invite me to.  I'm willing to do it.  This weekend is just about having fun, being with all the great All‑Stars and great people in this league.
For me it's an enjoyment being here with my friends and family and being here with the NBA and representing them at the highest level.  That's what it's about for me.

Q.  LeBron said when he won his first All‑Star MVP, it gave his confidence a boost.  Do you think it will do the same for you now?
KYRIE IRVING:  For me I try not to get too high or too low.  It's a great accomplishment, especially bringing this back to Cleveland.  That's the most important thing.
But like I said, there's so many different MVPs out there on that floor and to be named MVP amongst all those great stars is truly an honor.  It's a blessing.  And I'm glad I get to bring it back to Cleveland.

Q.  The notion of LeBron someday coming back to Cleveland is kind of hanging over the franchise there.  Is that in your opinion a healthy thing or something that you relish or not?
KYRIE IRVING:  Everyone is going to have their opinion or write different stories.  That's the media's job.
But for me, my focus level is just on my team and our team that we have now.  That's the most important thing at this point for me, is just how I can get myself better and how I can make my teammates better every single day.
All the outside sources I really don't pay attention to.  It's more of an internal confidence thing that I'm trying to raise with the morale of my teammates.  And that's what it's about.  That's the most important thing at this point is my team.

Q.  You passed the ball to Carmelo at the last moment, and if he made it, he would be the man with that trophy here.  So what was in your mind at that moment?
KYRIE IRVING:  Well, he was hot the whole game.  I was just going to give him the ball to shoot.  I was hoping he made it so I could get another assist.  That's the only thing I was hoping for.  Whether he got it or I got it, I mean, it was still just a happy moment, just to be out there with all those great stars.
But I was hoping he would make it so I would get my 15th assist.  That's what I was hoping for.

Q.  Kind of made a reference to it earlier, you sort of owned All‑Star Weekend the last three years here now.  Was this a realistic goal for you coming in?  Did you think you really had a shot at this?  Did you give this any thought?
KYRIE IRVING:  I didn't give it any thought.  No, I just wanted to make the game competitive, go out there and compete.
Like I said, I feel like that's what all the fans want to see us do is just compete at the highest level.
Some guys didn't play that many minutes.  They're getting a little older and they have minutes restrictions, you know.  But for myself coming in I just wanted to compete.
And I watched so many different All‑Star Games and past All‑Star Games, those guys were really trying to go at one another.  And I keep saying it, but that's what the fans want to see, and I just wanted to give the fans what they wanted.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Kyrie.
KYRIE IRVING:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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