NBA superstar Kyrie Irving’s latest contract extension not only solidifies his future with the Dallas Mavericks, but also makes history in the process. In a groundbreaking move over the weekend, Irving agreed to a remarkable three-year deal worth $126 million. However, what sets this agreement apart is the significant role played by someone very close to him. 

Breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings, Kyrie Irving’s stepmother, Shetellia Riley Irving, made history by negotiating and securing the new NBA contract for her stepson. As the first Black woman to achieve this milestone, Riley Irving’s negotiating savvy marks a pivotal moment in sports representation. Her groundbreaking success builds upon her previous trailblazing accomplishment of becoming the first woman to officially represent an active NBA player when Kyrie selected her as his agent last year. 

In a surprising turn of events, the NBA star's departure from the Brooklyn Nets became imminent when he expressed his intentions not to return to the team next year. Before the trade deadline in February, he was subsequently traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

During his time with the Mavericks, the point guard has played in 20 games, during which the team struggled with an 8-12 record and failed to qualify for the postseason. Uncertainty loomed as rumors circulated about Irving's potential departure from Dallas if he didn't receive a desirable contract offer. Exploring his options, he engaged in discussions with various teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns, before ultimately deciding to recommit to the Mavericks.

Shetellia Riley Irving. Image: Courtesy of Front Office Sports.

The decision to involve Riley Irving faced significant opposition and skepticism from some NBA circles and the media. Critics questioned her ability to effectively carry out the job and secure the best possible deal. Others criticized the decision as unprofessional, citing concerns about hiring a family member to handle his business affairs.

Yet, Riley Irving's performance has defied expectations. Impressively, in just 16 months on the job, she succeeded in negotiating a nearly max contract for her client—an accomplishment that speaks volumes about her capabilities. The outcome serves as a powerful rebuttal to naysayers and demonstrates her competence in securing favorable deals.

With an impressive 13-year career as the vice president of ad sales at Black Entertainment Television (BET), Riley Irving is no stranger to sealing significant deals. However, she recognized the magnitude of this particular accomplishment, not only for her own career but also for those who will follow in her footsteps.

"I think the only or the biggest weight on my shoulders was the fact that there were so many other people watching to see how well I did this," she shared in an interview. "Because if I do this, right, it opens the door for so many other Black women. And we get a chance to have more than a seat at the table."