BOSTON -- Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving arrived 45 minutes late for a meeting with coach Brad Stevens earlier this week, but he had a decent excuse: His car broke down on the way to his first offseason workout with his new team.
Irving, acquired by Boston last month in a league-rattling blockbuster that sent Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland, said his car stalled out en route to Boston's suburban practice facility, leaving Irving stranded in the rain near an area college while trying to figure out why his Jeep wasn't working.
"I had no idea that my engine got changed. So I put regular gas in the Jeep and it stalled out," Irving said Thursday night as he joined Gordon Hayward and rookie Jayson Tatum to help the Celtics showcase their new Nike jerseys at a Boston restaurant.
"[The Jeep] stalled out right on the corner of Beaver and Forest, right in front of Bentley University. And I'm standing there and our equipment guy [John Connor] came and picked me up. So I was like 45 minutes late to meeting with Brad. That shows you how much time I was out there for. It was raining and I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt but the people out there that kept stopping, they were awesome."
Irving has been filming an "Uncle Drew" movie in Atlanta for much of the summer. He has made a couple of visits to Boston, including for his post-trade physical in August and his introductory news conference earlier this month, but ventured to Boston this week to get settled before the start of training camp.
Boston players have been returning to the area in recent weeks to engage in informal workouts. The Celtics will open the 2017-18 season with media day on Monday and then bus down to Newport, Rhode Island, where the team will open training camp with three days of practice on the campus of Salve Regina University.
Irving seems to have had good luck with college campuses to start his Boston adventure.
"I had about four people get out of their cars [at Bentley] and ask me if I needed a lift somewhere," said Irving. "Just to have that type of support anywhere, you know, at any given moment [and] they had no idea who I was, which makes it even sweeter. Being part of the Boston culture, man, I'm just enthused. And now I can't wait to get started."
Irving said he's eager to dive back into basketball activities after a crazy summer.
"It's gonna be fun just to get somebody to hit me," said Irving. "I was shooting a movie down in Atlanta for Uncle Drew so I didn't really get to go up and down as much as I would have liked, so this is really like a preseason for me of getting acclimated and playing against some NBA elite competition -- Terry Rozier, going against him every day, and getting better with Marcus [Smart] and Gordon and all these guys. It's gonna take some time, but I miss it. I missed NBA basketball and that's one thing that's a place of refuge for me is being on that court."
Irving was asked about getting grilled on First Take, where he was pressed hard about asking for a trade from the Cavaliers and his relationship with LeBron James.
"It's part of it. Whether you consider it real or not, it's up to you," said Irving. "It's all now part of sports and what makes it great, and sometimes the negative aspect of it. But you take it with a grain of salt and you keep moving. So my [mindset] is being here with the Boston Celtics and being here and being extremely happy. So I'm looking forward to [the start of the training camp]."