Columbia’s Alex Rosenberg has a special rooting interest in the NBA Finals— his former teammate and now NBA superstar Kyrie Irving plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, facing the Golden State Warriors in the best-of-seven series.
Rosenberg, returning to Columbia next season after withdrawing from school because of an injury that would have prevented him from playing most of his senior season, grew up with Irving, now the starting point guard for the Cavaliers. Irving however, collapsed with about two minutes left in Game 1, grabbing his left knee. That knee has been bothering him the past six weeks with tendinitis. According to ESPN.com, Irving will have an MRI on Friday to determine the extent of the injury.
“Growing up and playing with Kyrie I never really thought much of it until junior year in high school when he really started to blow up,” Rosenberg said. “I think when you are playing AAU over the summer you realize things are getting a little crazy when you’ve got Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski, (Syracuse) coach (Jim) Boeheim, (former Connecticut) coach (Jim) Calhoun, (Kansas coach ) Bill Self, you’ve got all these guys at your games.
“Kyrie went to West Orange, about 10 minutes away, in fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth grade and middle school he was just some random kid I played against. I didn’t think much of it. Then ninth, 10th, 11th grade and even as a senior we matched up on the same AAU team and so I got to know him really well through AAU. He’s been impressive to watch.”
Irving’s rise from “unknown as a sophomore” as Rosenberg says, to a top player by his senior year gave Rosenberg ringside seats to superstardom. It has also inspired Rosenberg.
Irving’s ability to work on what he needs to work on and block out the distractions helped Rosenberg through his career and his rehab from his foot injury. “He’s never satisfied and I’m never going to be satisfied.”