Celtics

Irving's biggest assist of the year? Helping bring cleaner water to Kenya

Irving's biggest assist of the year? Helping bring cleaner water to Kenya

BOSTON -- The impact that Boston Celtics star guard Kyrie Irving has made on the game of basketball is undeniable.

The crossover dribble that has left many ankles in the NBA sore afterwards, the ability to finish at the rim or drain a clutch, late-game 3-pointer … we’ve seen him do it all time and time again.

And he’s managed to get his teammates involved as well in what has been a banner season for the six-time All-Star when it comes to passing the ball.

But the biggest assist Irving is making has nothing to do with what happens on that 94-by-50-foot basketball court.

It can be found thousands of miles away from Boston in Kenya, where Irving is lending a hand — his jersey actually — to help bring cleaner drinking water to the country.

According to water.org, there are 19 million people who lack access to clean water in Kenya.

Through Underdogs United, which helps professional athletes exchange their jerseys for sportswear with “clean water solutions stitched in,” Irving’s No. 11 Celtics Jersey is being auctioned off with the proceeds going towards clean water initiatives for schools in rural Kenya through a partnership with Impact Water.

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Irving isn’t the only NBA player involved with Underdogs United, but according to the Underdogs United founder it was Irving who got the ball rolling.

"Kyrie was the first high-profile athlete to commit to the Global Jersey Exchange, and his leadership really catalyzed the initiative,” said Stephen Gabauer, founder of Underdogs United. “Since Kyrie joined, we've partnered with over 100 professional athletes, including 10 other NBA stars (Golden State’s Stephen Curry being one of them). With their support, we've now reached over 10,000 children with safe drinking water. We're excited about Kyrie's auction and the lasting impact it will create in our partner communities for years to come."

In addition to providing cleaner water to rural Kenya, Underdogs United also employs Kenyan tailors and designers who collaborate to provide the athletes with Kenyan-inspired jerseys.

“Stitching Irving’s jersey has been a project of a lifetime for me,” said Vindah Kanana, the tailor for Irving’s jersey. “I’ve been a tailor for most of my life, and I have just shared my work with the local community. It‘s beautiful to make such a personal gift for someone overseas. On behalf of our community, I would like to say thank you to Irving for helping our schools with their water supply. God bless.”

Mariam Naipanoi, who designed Irving’s jersey, had similar sentiments.

"I was a center on my high school basketball team, so I keep up with the NBA,” Naipanoi said. “To create an original design for Kyrie, influenced by my Kenyan heritage, is an opportunity I could only dream of. It's been amazing to see how this initiative is positively impacting our community and the health of our children."

The auction for Irving’s jersey, which can be found on gounderdogs.org, is open until March 26 at 8 p.m. EST.

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Exclusive 1-on-1 interviews with Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter, Danny Ainge and Wyc Grousbeck

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Exclusive 1-on-1 interviews with Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter, Danny Ainge and Wyc Grousbeck

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0:56 - Draper, Blakely, and Forsberg discuss the optimism surrounding the team and the acquisition of Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter.

2:28 - How much more likable is the year’s Celtics team?

4:30 - Where do the Celtics sit in the Eastern Conference now that these deals are said and done?

6:34 - What stood out the most from the introductory press conference?

7:52 - Kemba Walker 1-on-1

15:21 - Danny Ainge 1-on-1

22:55 - Enes Kanter 1-on-1

33:23 - Wyc Grousbeck interview

38:56 - How will the offense have to change with Kemba at the helm?

41:17 -Danny Ainge said that he had a feeling Kyrie was gone around March/April

41:17 -How entertaining will Kanter be this season?

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Check out Kemba Walker wearing No. 8 green Celtics jersey for first time

Check out Kemba Walker wearing No. 8 green Celtics jersey for first time

Kemba Walker wearing a green Boston Celtics jersey seemed quite unlikely just a few months ago, but it's now the reality for the historic franchise.

The star point guard -- who was officially introduced Wednedesday during a press conference at the Auerbach Center -- looks pretty good in Celtic green, and the proof is in the photos below.

Walker signed a four-year, $141 million max contract with the Celtics in NBA free agency. He will replace Kyrie Irving as Boston's starting point guard, primary scorer and leader.

The UConn product chose to wear No. 8 because many other numbers are retired in Boston and his birthday is May 8. He also talked to former Celtics star Antoine Walker and received his blessing to wear No. 8.

How a phone call from Walker helped lure Kanter to the Celtics>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.