Irving caught wind of the comment—calling it truthful—and responded with a season-high 31 points in Boston’s 108-105 win Tuesday night against the visiting Detroit Pistons.
📹 After the game, @KyrieIrving gave Tommy Heinsohn a shoutout for getting him into shape. Here's why: 😂
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) October 31, 2018
Kyrie says he “had to be in better shape.”
Per the Boston Herald:
“Oh man, it’s always great when someone challenges you like that. Especially with the respect level that I have for past Celtics legends,” Irving said after the Celtics’ 108-105 win against Detroit last night. “And for him to really kind of pinpoint as me being one of the leaders on this team, the main focal point of this team, I had to be in better shape as well as challenge myself on both ends of the floor. I think he made it very clear to me. I caught wind of it, probably like a week ago.
“And it was bothering me because it was the most honest thing that anyone had said about the way I was playing, because I literally had to try to match a level that I had playing at last year, but also become better. So how do you do that? I had to really put an emphasis on my body and how I’m taking care of my mind. That was one of the realest things that I could have heard.
Irving continued: “As a competitor, if that doesn’t irk you, itch inside you, of you wanting to be better, especially when a guy … Tommy Heinsohn, you can’t do any wrong in his eyes if you’re a Celtic. You can’t do ANY wrong. And I appreciate that. And it was the truth. I had to get in better shape, and I had to become more dedicated to what I had been doing but more emphasis. So I took that. I was on the bike the next morning, Versa-climb, I was doing everything possible to make sure I could prepare my body for what’s to come for the rest of the season. It’s a long season, just wanted to get prepared. But I shouted him out because that was the truth, I needed it.”