He gets buckets: Irving's 'Uncle Drew' is back

MIAMI (AP) By his own estimate, Kyrie Irving figures about half the people who shout at him in public use his name.

The other half yell for Uncle Drew.

The character Irving created - the old man who shows up at the playground and, as Drew would say, gets ''buckets'' - is back. Pepsi and Irving released Chapter 4 of the wildly popular Uncle Drew story on Thursday, this episode filmed at a Miami park over the summer and also featuring Ray Allen, Baron Davis and actor J.B. Smoove.

''I was actually on the court shooting once and this little kid and his father came over and the father says the kid watches Uncle Drew all the time,'' Irving said. ''The kid was 2 or 3 at the most and he whispered to me in the cutest kid voice, `I get buckets.' I started laughing hysterically.

''It put into perspective what Uncle Drew means to people out there.''

The numbers provide plenty of proof that the character's appeal is broad.

On YouTube alone, Uncle Drew videos have been viewed more than 60 million times. It's something that Irving - the Cleveland Cavaliers star who is expected to soon make his season debut after recovering from the knee injury that knocked him out of last season's NBA Finals - never envisioned. He was thrilled when the first Drew chapter three years ago crossed the 1,000-view mark.

''Man, this is amazing,'' Irving said. ''And now thinking about the progress we've had, being on Chapter 4 now, it's really amazing.''

Chapter 4 starts with a pair of new characters, Louis (played by Davis) and Angelo (played by Smoove) talking with Drew about the best shooters to play the game. During that debate, one brings up Drew's longtime nemesis Walt (played by Allen). Everyone, like the characters played by Kevin Love, Nate Robinson and Maya Moore in the past, is made to appear significantly older.

Drew and Walt rekindle their rivalry by playing H-O-R-S-E, with a crowd surrounding the court.

Past chapters have shown Drew playing full-court 5-on-5, though this one was filmed when Irving was still in the midst of recovering from the knee issue and that likely played a role in how he crafted the latest script.

''What happens out there when we do these, it's not fake,'' Irving said. ''We're out there playing and showing why we're NBA players. That's what makes the spot so funny. We're these older people, these older personas, and teaching these young guys that, `hey, we can still do this.'''

Drew's name is derived from Irving's middle name, Andrew. There's more chapters of the story planned in the future, and yes, there's hope that one day Irving's fellow Cleveland star LeBron James - who endorses a different drink company - might be able to work his way onto the court alongside Uncle Drew.

''Uncle Drew is the guy that I used to see at the park with the sweatpants on at 6 or 7 in the morning, working on his game,'' Irving said. ''And here comes the young guy, thinking he's going to be what he looks like: slow, very methodical in his moves, complaining the young guys don't understand the fundamentals of the game are what make the game special and fun. I wanted to bring him to life with Uncle Drew.''

---

Uncle Drew Chapter 4: https://youtu.be/ZY6GAOPGuPs

---

Follow Tim Reynolds at twitter.com/ByTimReynolds. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/tim-reynolds

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.