Long Island kids interview NBA star Kyrie Irving

NBA 2013 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving NBA 2013 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving with Kidsday reporters Mehnuma Syed, Charlie Yellin, Casey Levy and Matthias Lee, ages 9 and 10, from Jericho at the Toys R Us store in Manhattan. (Sept. 27, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

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We met basketball star Kyrie Irving at Toys R Us in Manhattan recently. He was promoting Skullcandy headphones.

Were you surprised to be the first pick of the 2011 draft?

Yeah, I was. I was scared. It was a lot of pressure, but it was a dream come true. It was a blessing. A lot of hard work went into being the number one pick, and it's an exciting time, but it's definitely nerve wracking. So if you ever get there, just remember: calm down.

Is there a lot of pressure being an NBA star?

Yeah, but with pressure also comes responsibility -- but it's something we all sign up for. We get to see kids like you guys every day and be part of you guys' lives. That's what it's about.

Who were your favorite basketball players growing up?

Isiah Thomas, Chris Paul, but obviously he can't be my favorite player anymore . . . Kenny Anderson and a couple of the old guys.

Did you play any other sports growing up? No, my dad didn't let me play any other sports. I just strictly played basketball. I could play other sports. I was an athlete, but basketball was my main sport.

Which current players would you want to play on your dream team?

Probably Chris Paul, LeBron [James], Kenny [Anderson] . . . all the guys that you guys know. And probably Tim Duncan and myself.

What team would you want to be on if you weren't on the Cavaliers?

I'm not thinking about any other team but Cleveland. Let's stay with Cleveland right now. I'm good here.

Does your No. 2 mean anything?

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No, my number means nothing. It's just a number, and that's what my dad used to tell me. The Cavs wanted to give me No. 15 -- but that's for big men. So I chose a lower number.

Who was your most memorable coach?

My most memorable coach was my dad. He coached me for four years, and we won four championships in my township. So me and my dad kind of did the thing.

If you could improve a part of your game, what would you do?

My consistency every day just coming to work and being the best every single day. So consistency.

What was your major in college?

Coming soon: Newsday's Family newsletter, for things to do with kids, events, more.

I was only in college for a year, so stay in school, but I was majoring in psychology.

What is your biggest fear?

I don't really have any. When I was younger, it was the fear of failing, but you can't be successful in life if you have fear of failure.

What's the difference between playing in college and the NBA?

Well, college it's more of a home team atmosphere. You're with your teammates all the time. But NBA, you've kind of got to figure out things on your own; and when I was 19 years old, I was still kind of a kid, so I had to kind of figure things out. Just the pace of the game and just the responsibility being an NBA player.

What would you like to do after you retire?

I would like to be an actor.

Does the crowd's cheering or booing affect the way you play?

I love the cheering at home; but the booing, I enjoy as well.

We are in fifth grade. What could you tell us about your fifth-grade teacher? Any teacher?

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My fifth-grade teacher was Miss Lauderbach at Gregory Elementary School [in West Orange, N.J.]. I was kind of like a bad kid back when I was younger. But I grew out of it. I matured. But in fifth grade, it was kind of a learning year for me. Let's just say that.

What is your favorite basketball movie?

"He Got Game" by Spike Lee.

Do you ever talk to the other players on the court?

No. No conversation except [with] my teammates.

How did you practice for the three-point contest [at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game]?

A lot of shooting. I was really nervous in the three-point competition. There are so many great shooters but just a lot of practice before the three-point competition. So I was prepared for it.

Who is your inspiration?

My dad and my little sister and my older sister. It's kind of a box, all four of us, and they take care of me, and I take care of them. And that's how it goes. My inspiration is my family.

Coming soon: Newsday's Family newsletter, for things to do with kids, events, more.

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