Kyrie Irving destroys doubters who thought he was a 'locker room cancer'

Denver Nuggets v Dallas Mavericks
Denver Nuggets v Dallas Mavericks / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks are less than two days away from their first round matchup versus the LA Clippers kicking off, as the Mavericks played an inspiring brand of basketball throughout the last 20 games of the season en route to position themselves as true contenders.

Dallas' newfound defensive identity has been something that the team has been lacking in the Luka Doncic era, barring the final half of the 2021-22 season where Dallas made a run to the Western Conference Finals.

In the last 15 games of the regular season the Mavericks had the best defensive rating in the entire NBA at 106.1. This comes off the heels of Jason Kidd inserting Derrick Jones Jr. and Daniel Gafford into Dallas' starting five, as the Mavericks have finally calculated the lineups that get the most out of their depth on a game-to-game basis.

Kyrie Irving is silencing doubters in regard to what type of player he is

The vibes are immaculate for the Mavericks right now as they approach the playoffs, as they've paired a top-ranked defense with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving playing some of the best basketball of their careers. However, there were many individuals in the national media who thought that none of this was achievable from Irving and Doncic despite how good of a relationship they have, citing Irving's off-the-court "issues" that drew criticism in his Boston and Brooklyn stops as well as Irving's inability to stay healthy as reasons that this Mavericks team could only go so far.

The Mavericks have completely dispelled that narrative, and Irving's consistency down the stretch of this season as well as him becoming one of Dallas' vocal leader has challenged the perception of many in the national media who don't think the Mavericks are good enough to make a deep playoff run.

Irving talked about his ability to tune out critics when asked about it in one of Dallas' post-practice interviews recently, as he was covered in a significantly harsher manner by reporters during his Boston and Brooklyn tenures.

"All of our legacies are on the line…Somehow I was called a chaos agent for a little bit and there was this narrative that I’m a locker room cancer…I don’t mind being the butt of anyone’s jokes, but not at the expense or the consequence of my teammates’ success and our success as an organization."

Kyrie Irving

Not only does this quote from Irving prove just how adapt he's become with dealing with criticism in his NBA career, but it also shows how selfless Irving is as a leader of this Mavericks team, as he doesn't want any negative criticism toward him to deflect back on his teammates or the Mavericks organization.

From a mental perspective, the Mavericks couldn't be more dialed in right now ahead of this matchup against the Clippers, and as exhibited by Irving's quote above, the Mavericks have some of the best chemistry in the league as basically everyone on the team enjoys the mix of personalities both on and off the court.

For more on Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks ahead of the 2024 NBA Playoffs, stay tuned as we will have you covered.