Irving: I just want to play basketball at a very high level

Kyrie Irving is tired of "distractions", eager to focus his energy on playing for the Boston Celtics.

Kyrie Irving   -  Getty Images

Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving wants to focus on basketball.

Irving said on Monday that being a celebrity is "a little hard" for him and he made it clear he just wants to play basketball.

"I didn't really come into this game to [have] cameras in my face, be famous, be a celebrity, whatever embodies that. It's a little hard for me. I wanted those things when I was younger, but now ... I just want to play basketball at a very high level," he said.

"The distractions that come from within the team sometimes can get overwhelming.

"I'm human so I just try not to let it seep into my team-mates. That's the most important thing, you know. Setting an example for these young guys."

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Irving has been in the spotlight from the start. He was a highly touted prospect at Duke and was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the top pick in the 2011 draft, despite playing in just 11 games for the Blue Devils. 

The 26-year-old guard is a six-time All-Star and won an NBA championship with the Cavaliers in 2016. He was traded to the Celtics just before the 2017-18 season.

While Irving is considered to be one of basketball's top talents, Boston have lost five of their last six games. The once-favoured Celtics are still fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, though.

Boston reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018 and fell short to a LeBron James-led Cavaliers team.

Irving's happiness in Boston has been a key storyline this season, as he can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this offseason.