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In just his third game, he had a chance to hit a game-winning layup at Indiana but rolled his shot off the rim. Still, Irving’s desire to take the last shot in a pressure-packed moment made a huge impression on his teammates and coaches, who joked they were sure he wasn’t just 19.

A month later in Boston, with his father, Drederick, sitting in a courtside seat, Irving had perhaps the defining moment of his season. With the Cavs down by two, Irving, ignoring his failure in a previous situation, drove to the basket, split two defenders and flipped in a left-handed layup to beat the Celtics.

The next day he handled his heroics with humility that was on display all season.

“Just a shot,” he said.

Irving arrived with none of the superstar trappings. There was no entourage or multimillion dollar shoe contract, no cameras chronicling his every move. He was a team player in the truest sense, often tossing the praise on others and minimizing his role in victories.

Irving chose to blend in. He stepped away from the spotlight.

At the Rising Stars game during All-Star weekend in Orlando, Irving made all eight 3-pointers to win MVP honors. Posing for a photograph afterward, Irving lowered the crystal he was presented and told the photographer, “Make sure you get the Cleveland” on the front of his jersey.

“That wasn’t a publicity stunt at all,” Irving said when the season ended. “I just wanted to make sure they got the Cleveland uniform in it. We’re not as publicized as everybody else.”

Irving’s modesty rubbed off on everyone around him.

“He is just a fantastic kid,” Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said. “He’s got a great heart. He is genuine. He loves basketball. He loves people. People love being around him. He’s humble. He’s a great guy.”