Like it or not, Kyrie Irving played a pivotal role in bringing the first-ever NBA championship to Cleveland during his penultimate season with the Cavaliers.

And one of his former teammates thinks he’s earned a spot among the franchise’s most elite.

“His jersey will be retired here,” Tristan Thompson told Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor on Monday. “Part of history. He will always have a place in this Cavaliers franchise.”

Irving averaged 21.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in his six years with the Cavs and racked up numerous accolades, including five trips to the All-Star game. But it’s the championship he helped bring to Cleveland that sticks out to Thompson.

“See that banner right there? That’s what he means to the franchise,” he said. “Being No. 1 pick came in with a lot of expectations and he surpassed them all. Being an All-Star, All-Star Game MVP, World Championship gold medalist, Olympic gold medalist, made a crucial step-back from the right wing in Game 7, Rookie of the Year — it’s a lot.”

Will Thompson’s prediction come true? Only time will tell.

Thumbnail photo via Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports Images