Kyrie Irving grew up in New Jersey as a Nets fan watching his hometown team beat up on the Knicks. Then despite being linked with the Knicks in free agency, he picked Brooklyn.
So naturally, the Nets used Irving to troll their cross-river rivals.
On Saturday, Brooklyn tweeted that it was handing out Irving replica jerseys for its Oct. 25 tilt against the Knicks.
You will remember, of course, that many expected the Knicks to have an instant rebuild right into title contention by landing a trifecta of Irving, Kevin Durant and top pick Zion Williamson. Williamson ended up in New Orleans, while Irving and Durant chose Brooklyn.
It’s usually point guard Spencer Dinwiddie that takes joy in winding up Knicks fans. But this time the Nets’ marketing department used his new teammate to do the trolling, which didn’t go unnoticed by either side.
For his part, Irving has been fairly quiet since picking the Nets on June 30, the first day of free agency. Brooklyn starts training camp on Sept. 27, and he still hasn’t had a news conference or met the media.
But Irving hasn’t been idle, buying a house in West Orange in his native Essex County, N.J., and he also was looking at townhouses on the Upper East Side. He’s also organized some pickup games with a significant chunk of the Nets roster out in Los Angeles to get a head start on team-building.
And Irving has been ubiquitous in Brooklyn as well. He served as the Nets’ official host for tennis phenom Coco Gauff, whose success over in Queens at the U.S. Open led to Cocomania. The Nets tweeted out a photo of them hanging out at HSS Training Center on Thursday, and she retweeted it along with the caption “Brooklyn grit.”
And Irving dropped into to Brooklyn Bridge Park – where the Nets held an open practice last year, and have used for photo ops with the Manhattan skyline in the background. He threw a perfect lob to one kid for a dunk, and put up some low-key shots with some older fans.