London game an item on Irving's bucket list
Most NBA players dream of titles, gold medals and playing at Madison Square Garden, but Kyrie Irving live out another ambition he had.
Kyrie Irving is relishing ticking another item off his bucket list when the Boston Celtics face the Philadelphia 76ers at the O2 Arena on Thursday.
Irving, who was acquired by the Celtics in a blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers in August, already has an NBA title and an Olympic gold medal to his name, the four-time All-Star so far enjoying an excellent career.
And playing an NBA game on the international stage in London is another achievement for the point guard, who will look to lead the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics to a seventh straight win.
He told reporters: "Now I get to mark off my bucket list of playing at the O2 Arena, I can't wait for that experience. To have the opportunity to come here in Europe, especially London, grow the game of basketball for the NBA.
"The world of sport has a way of connecting people all over and I'm just appreciative to be one of the pioneers of that."
Irving rejected talk that having to adapt to playing in a different country could be a distraction in the Celtics' bid to make it seven in a row.
He added: "We've been off for about three days now, guys are pretty fresh, ready to get back out there, focus on the game and prepare as we always do and just go demand excellence, it's our job to put on a show."