Kyrie Irving hopes movie role furthers his brand
From NBA media reports
When Kyrie Irving hinted of a desire for more independence as his reason for jumping ship in Cleveland and the shadow of LeBron James, he did so knowing he’d have a leading role with the Celtics and also in Hollywood.
Irving is playing his commercial character “Uncle Drew” in an upcoming movie and hopes this will further his brand and identity, which he believes can or should be as famous as almost anyone in the NBA.
Irving appeared relaxed at his media session Saturday and was upbeat about re-teaming with LeBron on Sunday for the All-Star Game. He said he’s enjoying his time with the Celtics and a chance to take on an added role, more than he had in Cleveland. Here’s Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe with more:
The extremely private Irving is taking on this Hollywood venture as he worked with Lionsgate Entertainment Company to turn his popular Uncle Drew Pepsi-sponsored commercials, in which he dresses as an elderly man who schools hoopers in the playground young enough to be his grandsons.
Irving has spent most of his life mastering basketball. He has had time for little else, but the lure of movies and increasing his marketability and brand, especially among kids, was too attractive to resist, despite the fact that last summer was so critical.
“Uncle Drew,” which debuts June 29, was shot in Atlanta during the time that Irving made his trade demand to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was a chaotic time for Irving, but he was able to concentrate on his Uncle Drew role, and during his breaks, he was desperate to find pickup games in Atlanta.
Irving carries a rather mysterious image. It’s All-Star Weekend, and while many of the league’s superstars attach their names to parties and events, Irving doesn’t. One of the reasons he wanted to free himself from the ever-present shadow of James was to have the opportunity to express himself freely as the face of a franchise, not the assistant of one.
* * *