Throwback Thursday: Kyrie Irving at the 2014 FIBA World Cup

The 2014 FIBA World Cup was one of the first times Kyrie Irving showed us that he truly is one of the best players in the world.

With Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving set to make his Olympic debut in Rio in just a couple weeks, it’s only fitting that we take a look back at the last time Irving played international basketball.

Irving was phenomenal during the 2014 FIBA World Cup. He led the Untied States to a perfect 9-0 record while en route to a championship and tournament MVP award.

Throughout the tournament Kyrie averaged 12.1 points, 3.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He did that while shooting 56.2 percent from the field and an incredible 61.9 percent from beyond the arc. Irving capped off the tournament with an impressive 26 point performance in the championship game against Serbia.

Winning the tournament MVP was arguably Irving’s crowing achievement at that point in his career. This tournament came just over a month after LeBron James announced his decision to come home.

Before James returned the Cleveland, Irving rarely received national attention. Most people outside of Cleveland hadn’t really seen what Kyrie was capable of doing. The Cavaliers played only a couple nationally televised games a season before LeBron returned.

Until this point, the biggest moment of Irving’s career was winning the 2014 All-Star Game MVP. For many casual NBA fans that was the first time they saw Kyrie Irving take over a game.

During the summer of 2014 there was a lot of talk as to whether LeBron and Kyrie would play well together. Many national pundits questioned whether Irving could play well on the big stage with proven superstars like Kevin Love and LeBron.

While Irving couldn’t answer that question until the start of the 2014-15 season, he showed that he could dominate on a team full of other superstars in the World Cup. Team USA had an exceptional roster that year highlighted by Stephen Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.

The 2014 All-Star Game and the following FIBA World Cup proved to everyone that Kyrie Irving can be a superstar in this league.