Collin Sexton will wear No. 2 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Why is that notable? Well, it’s the number Kyrie Irving wore with the Cavs before being traded to the Boston Celtics last offseason in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, which Cleveland used to select Sexton at No. 8 overall last week.
So, how does Irving, who now wears No. 11 with the C’s, feel about this development? Simply put, he couldn’t care less.
“Go ahead, do what you do. He wanted to wear the number, let him wear the number. It doesn’t matter,” Irving said during a Q&A with reporters in Manhattan to promote his upcoming movie, “Uncle Drew,” according to ESPN.com. “The story is probably going to be the number. But I’m more excited about who (Sexton) is as a player in the league.
“The number thing is like, just chalk that up to the game. It’s cool. It’s no hard feelings from my end. He just has to start at the chopping block just like everyone else did. So I’m excited for him.”
Irving, who was selected No. 1 overall by Cleveland in 2011, spent six seasons with the Cavs, even helping them win a championship in 2016 by drilling a clutch 3-pointer in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. He ultimately requested a trade, wanting to carve out his own NBA legacy away from LeBron James’ shadow, but some Cavs fans insisted the organization refrain from handing out his old No. 2 — a suggestion Irving seems to appreciate.
“The history, it’s already captured, man,” Irving said, per ESPN.com. “I was on one of the best teams in NBA history, in my opinion, just accomplishing something that was that much bigger than ourselves. A feat that’s — we’re one of no other teams. We’re one of one, in history (to rebound from a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit).
“So for me, I think the biggest thing is giving that jersey to my dad. If that’s where the No. 2 legacy ends, then cool. Then I’m starting up a new one. No pressure for anyone else.”
Nevertheless, Sexton has big shoes to fill in Cleveland, especially if James leaves in free agency after guiding the Cavs to four straight NBA Finals appearances.
Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images