INDEPENDENCE: When he was standing at the free-throw line during a game last season, Kyrie Irving was briefly distracted by a groupie.
Nate Robinson, who played with the Chicago Bulls at the time, kept campaigning Irving to appear in one of his “Uncle Drew” videos. Robinson finally got his wish. The third installment of the hit Pepsi Max series debuted Monday with Robinson and WNBA star Maya Moore. The identity of the newest cast members was kept secret until Monday’s Internet premiere.
“Nobody could tell and if they did, I was going to sue them,” Irving said Monday, an hour before the debut. “They all signed a form that they had to remain silent until today. I’m just happy no one found out.”
The six-minute film was shot in one 12-hour day at Chicago’s Seward Park last summer. Robinson was a fan of the first two pieces (Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love appeared in the second video) and began badgering to appear in the third. He talked to him about it during a game, then followed it up with a Twitter message.
“Kyrie is a good dude, we have a good relationship,” Robinson told Dime Magazine. “He texted me after we did it and said, ‘You did a great job, you’re a cool dude, you made it so much fun being on set.’ We were just kicking back on set and it was a great, great opportunity.”
Irving has written the scripts for all three videos. He plays “Uncle Drew,” the elderly basketball star who is intent on getting the old team back together and showing today’s “young bloods” the real way to play.
Robinson plays “Lights,” a basketball star-turned-musician whom Uncle Drew finds in a jazz club. Moore is his significant other and warns “Lights” he can’t play again because he had his hip replaced. The two men ignore her warnings and return to the court for typical Uncle Drew antics. Moore’s character eventually shows up at the court and starts dropping shots, too.
It takes four hours of makeup just to get Irving into character.
“Just watching yourself transform from being young, beautiful and sexy to some old fart man is crazy,” Robinson told Dime Magazine. “I had a great time though. The makeup thing was crazy how they prepared everything and did the color scheme to make you look old. I looked at myself in the mirror and you see yourself aging and I was just like “Wow, I’m going to look like this when I’m old.’?”
Robinson said the hardest part for him was keeping quiet about it.
“It was one of my favorite experiences since I’ve been in the NBA,” he said. “The only thing that bugged me was that I couldn’t tell anybody about it. I’m the worst at keeping secrets so I just totally forgot about it, I didn’t tell nobody.”
Irving said there are two more installments of the series, then he is ending it.
“I’m coming up with ideas every single day and just thinking about it, but my focus right now is the season,” he said.
Cavs coach Mike Brown was asked who is a better defender, Irving or his elderly Uncle Drew character.
“If you’d have asked me last year, I’d have said Uncle Drew,” Brown said. “But I’m giving the nod to Kyrie right now.”
Andrew Bynum has not been cleared for a full return to the court, but Brown said Monday he has been playing full-court, five-on-five basketball for more than a week.
Tyler Zeller has been cleared from his appendicitis to return to the practice court, but Carrick Felix (hernia) has not resumed any court activities.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at https://ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.