Irving says he wants to retire in his early to mid-30s
NBA.com Global on Nov 24, 2018 07:16 AM
FILE - BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 30: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics stand for the National Anthem before the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 30, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
Now in his eighth NBA season, Kyrie Irving has no intention of sticking around for 20 or more seasons like Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and others.
Per ESPN's Tim Bontemps, the 26-year-old has every intention of leaving the game in his early to mid-30s.
"No, no," Irving said with a smile before the Celtics held morning shootaround ahead of the game. "Once I'm done with this, hopefully in my early to mid-30s, I'm done with this."
"I love basketball itself," Irving said. "But everything that comes with it? It doesn't really matter to me, in terms of my life. I enjoy the game, I enjoy being with my teammates, playing every single day.
The five-time All-Star point guard added that people don't realize or understand the grind and stress that an NBA season can put on you.
He added that he would like people looking in at him and other players from the outside to appreciate the amount of work and effort they put into perfecting their craft, and some of the stress that creates.
"I would say, I don't want to go into major detail, but I would just say I wish there was sometimes more empathy in terms of what we've committed ourselves to doing every single day. Putting our bodies on the line, understanding kind of the mental strain you put on just trying to be great every single day, and just literally putting the ball in the hoop better than you did yesterday. It comes at a price, but it's what we all signed up [for], and it's a sacrifice I'm willing to take for as long as possible in order to win as many championships and be as successful as I can.
For his career, Irving is averaging 22.0 points, 5.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 46.3 shooting from the field.