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February 17, 2018 | 1:38 pm EST Update
With his basketball life in utter upheaval, Irving also put his personal life into upheaval in the service of Hollywood, waking up daily before sunrise, as early as 4 a.m., to get ready for his daily old-man makeover and the 14 hours of filming that followed. It was after reporting to the set for a day’s work in the final week of August that Irving finally got the call. The Cavs had worked out a deal. Irving would be heading for Boston. “It just happened to be shooting during one of the craziest summers of my life,” Irving said on Friday, sitting in a conference room at the Hotel Bel-Air in LA to open All-Star weekend.
Storyline: Uncle Drew Movie
For Irving, it was a challenge. He obviously knew the importance of what was happening in his NBA life, but he did not want to let all that uncertainty bleed into the transformation of Uncle Drew into a movie star. “I tried my best not to let it mix,” Irving said. “As much as I could, but inevitably it did. I was unsure of when actually, or if actually the trade was going to happen, so it actually happened on set. You can only imagine what that reaction was to find out I had been traded, on set. I left for about five minutes, then I came back and started acting my scenes again. “That is a full-blown life right there, being a professional basketball player and acting in the summer.”
“I am just channeling a lot of guys who have come before me,” Kyrie Irving said. “Listening to, like, Bill Russell talk and the fact that I actually did an Uncle Drew spot with Bill Russell, that’s — for me, that’s like, man, that is legendary. He’s over there and he’s talking and you can just tell he was a f—ing unbelievable hooper. He’s walking, he’s a little bit older now, but you can just know that verve that older people carry. They’ve been walking this earth for so long. They have so much wisdom and so much knowledge. “For me, being Uncle Drew, I just try to be in that channel as much as I can and be in that mindset of just, give back, consistently give back. It’s always great to hear older people talk, they kind of talk as Yoda, they leave these things like, ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ with some unbelievable quotes that are simple but hit home.”