The 2015-16 NBA season has officially come to a close as the Cleveland Cavaliers defied the odds to win its first championship in franchise history, along with the city’s first major title since 1964.
Aside from an all-time performance by Finals MVP LeBron James, it was Kyrie Irving who came through in the clutch for the Cavs after hitting a three-pointer to put them ahead 93-89 in the final minute.
After the game, Irving shared his thoughts on channeling his inner Kobe Bryant per Ben Golliver of SI.Com.
"All I was thinking in the back of mind was Mamba Mentality." Kyrie Irving, Kobe Disciple, on Game 7 approach
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 20, 2016
Even the move itself was Kobe-esque, as Irving went between the legs before hitting the step-back three over a helpless Steph Curry.
Irving finished the game with 26 points and six rebounds to to compliment his stellar series performance. In just his fifth year in the league, he has already displayed the same tremendous poise that a young Kobe used to show. After missing all but one game in last year’s Finals, Irving was able to bounce back with consistent clutch performances during Cleveland’s championship run.
Kobe has long been revered for his ice-cold approach to late-game situations, and now its proof that his mentality has rubbed off on the NBA’s next generation of superstars. Although Kyrie is already widely regarded as one of the best point guards in the league, unlocking his ‘Mamba Mentality’ certainly spells trouble for the NBA in the years to come.
It wasn’t too long ago that a young Kyrie was challenging Kobe to a game of 1-on-1 and people were laughing at the thought of him doing so. Now, Kyrie is channeling his inner Kobe and helping the Cavaliers win their first NBA Championship.