This is an article from the Feb. 27, 2012 issue
The rookie from Duke leads the Cavaliers with 18.3 ppg and claims to dominate his competition in Xbox.
DAN PATRICK:What was your welcome-to-the-NBA moment?
KYRIE IRVING: We were playing the Lakers, Kobe Bryant took a fadeaway shot, and I contested it.
DP:Did Kobe say anything to you?
KI: No, he just yelled at the ref. I ran the other way and hit a pull-up three.
DP:Did you say anything to him?
KI: No, that's the Mamba. I don't say anything to him.
DP:Can you next year?
KI: No, not even then.
DP:Have you ever said anything to LeBron James?
KI: I'm not a big trash-talker. I just go out and do my job.
DP:What did you think of LeBron's comments that he would be open to returning to Cleveland?
KI: It's his choice. It has nothing to do with me ... yet.
DP:What was your big purchase when you got into the league?
KI: My dad bought all the furniture in my house, so the only thing I bought was my car.
DP:I guess you don't need a lot when you're a rookie. Just a bed, a couch and a flat-screen.
KI: And you need toiletries and all that good stuff. I don't really want to go to the grocery store.
DP:Have you woken up and not known what city you're in?
KI: That happened when we were on a seven-game road trip. When we got to Minnesota, I woke up and really thought I was back in Cleveland.
DP:Have you been watching a lot of Jeremy Lin highlights?
KI: I haven't really watched. I've been just focused on my Call of Duty stats at home.
DP:Are you the Kobe of Call of Duty players?
KI: I'm more like San Antonio's Tiago Splitter. I bring the pain.
DP:Is that what Tiago Splitter is known for?
KI: That's how I see Tiago Splitter.
DP:Do you play with your teammates?
KI: No, they're pretty bad at Call of Duty. I tried to get Anthony Parker and Antawn Jamison on Xbox, but it's past their generation.
DP:Do you think Mike Krzyzewski knows what Call of Duty is?
KI: I'm pretty sure his kids do.
DP:Has Coach K mellowed?
KI: Absolutely, when I came in.
DP:Were you responsible for him calming down?
KI: I was portrayed as the golden child to all the previous point guards because I never got yelled at for anything.
DP:He never yelled at you?
KI: He never called a timeout to solely yell at me like he's done with the others.
DP:Maybe he thought you couldn't take it.
KI: I doubt that. I have tough skin.
DP:After Duke beat North Carolina last week, were there any former Heels around you could rub it in with?
KI: Yes, Jamison.
DP:Did you have a bet?
KI: We did. And the next day I wore my Duke gear.
KI: No, just my parka. It's pretty cold in Cleveland, so I decided to wear a big D on my chest.
ESPN's Mike Tirico told me he was surprised the network removed Ron Jaworski from the MNF booth and thinks some day he'll lose analyst Jon Gruden. "I feel he'll coach at some point down the line," Tirico told me. "But I don't think it's immediately. He's truly enjoying this." ... Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said freshman guard Austin Rivers had to grow into the role of taking last-second shots—like the one that beat North Carolina last week. "He's wanted the ball all season," Coach K said. "He didn't deserve the ball all of the season." ... Knicks analyst Walt Frazier says defensive game plans against Jeremy Lin don't work. "It's sort of like holding water in your hand," Frazier said. "You can only do it for so long." ... MLB Network's Peter Gammons thinks the Red Sox should immediately defuse the controversy stemming from pitchers' eating fried chicken and drinking beer during games last season: "One of the first days of spring training, they should give away Popeyes at the ballpark."