NEW YORK - Kyrie Irving is best known for his dazzling handles, but it's the game-winning shot he hit to ice Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals that will live in basketball lore.
If it comes down to it in Brooklyn, Irving doesn't expect to have to take that shot every time.
The star guard joined Kevin Durant's new podcast, the ETCs, and implied that his ex-teammates in Cleveland and Boston weren't up to his standards.
"One thing I've always been comfortable with is, I felt like I was the best option on every team I've played for down the stretch," Irving said. "This is the first time in my career where I can look down be like, 'That mother----- can make that shot, too."
Irving, of course, hit that game-winner as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he, LeBron James and Kevin Love led the franchise to its first-ever NBA championship. At one point, James had a reputation for faltering in crunch time.
Irving has taken his game up a notch in those moments.
The Nets and their fans got a taste of it this season.
In 20 games, he averaged 27 points, six assists, five rebounds and a steal on just under 50% shooting from the field and 40% shooting from 3-point range. Barclays Center saw some impressive performances down the stretch in his first season, including a 50-point Nets debut against the Minnesota Timberwolves, a game-winning shot against the New York Knicks and another 54-point performance (on 19-of-23 shooting) against the Chicago Bulls.
Irving's season ended early after he opted for shoulder surgery after the All-Star break.
That was without Brooklyn's other shining star.
Durant has hit his fair share of ice-cold shots, too.
He hit the shot that iced the Warriors' 2017 NBA championship - and it was a moment that signaled a brief shift of power from James' throne. Durant waltzed up the floor in the final minute of Game 3 against the Cavaliers, pulled up from deep and hit a 3 contested by James to give the Warriors a 114-111 lead.
He hit another shot from the same place on the floor the next year - against a Cavs team without Irving - to give the Warriors a 3-0 series lead.
Irving and Durant also spoke about coaching in Brooklyn, with the Nets having hired Steve Nash as the full-time replacement for Kenny Atkinson.
"A lot of people may question our leadership, overall or just us two," Durant said. "But when me and Ky talked about being coached every single day, that's leading by example.
"A lot our teammates are going to follow suit once they see we're getting coached and continue to ask questions about the game. Having Steve there and collaborating with our floor general every day is only going to yield good results."
Collaborating is exactly how the floor general himself sees it. "I don't really see us having a head coach," Irving said about Nash. "KD could be a head coach, I could be a head coach ... We don't need someone to come in with their coaching philosophy and change everything we're doing."
Irving lastly squashed the idea that he and Durant were responsible for Atkinson's dismissal.
"I want to give a shout out to Kenny Atkinson," Irving said. "Because some people came out and was like, 'Yo, Ky and KD got Kenny fired.' And look, that was completely false. Listen, Kenny was great for the group that he served, and I was very appreciative of what he was giving us throughout the season when we were playing."
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