Dime #67: Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving Is The New King In Town

I now understand what it’s like to be Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. During the 149-day lockout, I was repeatedly asked the same question over and over again: “How does the lockout affect your job?” By about the eighth time I heard this, I had developed a stock response that I could tell people. “NBA or no NBA, we’re still good. There’s college, high school and overseas ball, and now we just have more time to cover the players’ lives off the court.” Truthfully, I only partly believed myself.

While I wasn’t worried about my job security and knew we could still deliver an amazing magazine, the thought of losing the NBA for an entire season made me sick to my stomach. Basketball was still basketball, but a year without the NBA would be like Halloween without candy. I mean, who really cares about pumpkins?

From nuclear winter to opening on Christmas Day, it’s fitting that the NBA’s 66th season will be comprised of a 66-game schedule. And while 95 percent of this issue was done before David Stern said, “We want to play basketball,” it’s a good thing we bet on Kyrie Irving.

As you can imagine, Irving has a story to tell that no one but Michael Olowokandi – the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NBA Draft before the last lockout – can relate to. After spending all summer and fall taking classes at Duke, the Rookie of the Year front-runner can finally take the court. He always knew his rookie season would be impacted by the lockout; he just didn’t know how great that impact would be.

It’s a bold statement to put a rookie on the cover before he’s ever played an NBA game, but let’s just say we’re confident Irving will do his thing. As our 10-year anniversary came to an end in December, we couldn’t think of a better person lead us into another amazing decade.

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Dime #67 is on sale now on newsstands nationwide. In addition to Irving, the issue includes features on Dorell Wright, Ty Lawson, Will Bynum, Maya Moore, Terrence Jones & Terrence Ross, and Luther “Ticky” Burden, our definitive 2011-12 NBA preview, as well as interviews with Dwyane Wade, Brandon Bass, Jason Terry, Big K.R.I.T. and much more. Check it out.

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