Kyrie Irving may be public enemy No. 1 for Celtics fans, but the Mavericks guard believes Boston helped make him who he is today.

“I would not be here without Boston,” Irving told ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “Without me going through what I went through here, I would not be who I am today.”

The 32-year-old explained he was juggling learning how to be a great father, brother and son during his two-year stint with the Celtics.

“(I was) struggling with my identity a little bit,” Irving admitted. “So, I’m grateful that I have history here. Some of it is up and down, but I’ve accepted it. I’ve forgiven that person and forgiven myself more or less. Now, as an opponent, I look forward to putting my best foot forward and play my best game.”

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Irving is used to hearing the “boos” and various chants from the Boston faithful condemning him for the way he left the franchise in 2019.

“That’s not something that I’m putting my energy into,” Irving said. “Because I have to, and I want to focus on the game itself. Loud cheers or boos, that’s part of the game.

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“I’ve been able to reflect on how do I handle that and when I’m playing my best game it’s because I’m at peace and I’m not allowing anybody to infiltrate my sacred space.”

Whether the Mavericks defeat the Celtics in the NBA Finals or not, Irving has not committed to staying in Dallas for the rest of his career.

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“The future is still being written,” he said. “But, I can tell you … I don’t mind being complementary if we’re gonna continue to put this band together and we have some great pieces around us. I am enjoying my time here. It’s been a great journey thus far.”

Featured image via Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports Images