Why he's interesting As the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, Irving willingly accepted the weight of a king's crown as the Cavaliers floor leader and face of the franchise. Irving's slick ball handling, scoring ability and late-game magic (his first game-winning shot came in only his 19th NBA contest) helped earn him Rookie of the Year honors. But his work as a pitchman for Pepsi Max and Foot Locker shows his potential for stardom beyond basketball.
Bank deposits The 6-foot-3 point guard has a knack for scoring among bigger, taller defenders around the basket. It's a skill he learned while playing in his New Jersey backyard on a hoop that was missing a big chunk of the backboard. "You had to put the right touch on it in order for it to go in."
Summer camp Irving shined against Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and the rest of the U.S. men's Olympic team as they prepared for London. "When these guys are all comprised on one team, you really get to show your stuff against them. I went in there just trying to earn their respect."
No stage is too big As a high school senior, Irving acted in a production of High School Musical as a way to challenge himself. "It's nerve-wracking being up there [on stage], so it was just me conquering a fear of mine."
It's old hat now Last season, in a short film he wrote, directed and starred in for Pepsi Max, Irving went undercover as Uncle Drew, an old man who returns to the playground courts to school the "youngbloods" in Bloomfield, N.J. "Those commercials give me a chance to express my personality to the rest of the world. That's just me being myself."
Role model This season, Irving poked fun at advertising's "cinematic dunks" in a commercial for Foot Locker and reprised his role as Uncle Drew alongside Minnesota all-star Kevin Love and NBA legend Bill Russell. "It was one of the greatest experiences ever," Irving says of working with Russell. "He has so much knowledge of the game."
Role model, part two Irving modeled his game after his father, Dred, who was a star at Boston University. But his father's influence can be felt beyond the court as well. "I've been an old soul my whole entire life, just from how I was brought up."
But not too old Check out his Netflix queue, and you might be surprised: "I still watch Power Rangers."
other guilty pleasures Irving loves musicals. In fact, he even sang a duet from Grease with Erika Lauren on 100.7 WMMS' The Alan Cox Show back in August. But his favorite musical by far is Rent. He discovered the movie in eighth grade and has been hooked since. "I know every song in Rent. It's one of the best motion pictures ever, and the musical is even better."