Kyrie Irving and LeBron James experienced a lot of good times together as teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-2017, going to three-straight NBA Finals together and winning a championship in 2016 by putting on one of the most amazing tag team acts ever. But it all came to a halt when, in the summer of 2017, Irving unexpectedly asked for a trade, with the Cavs shipping the former No. 1 overall pick to the Boston Celtics in a lopsided offseason deal.
As we know now, the reason for Kyrie Irving’s request was to escape James’ massive shadow that he casts over an entire franchise, with the point guard looking to become “the man” on his own team, and no longer play second banana behind, arguably, the greatest player of his generation. It ended a duo that, had things works out, could have continued to compete for NBA titles. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
Through his experiences of tough love from LeBron James during those long playoff runs, Kyrie Irving learned a lot more than he would’ve ever thought back then — and he’s using those leadership skills on his current Celtics’ team with a slew of young players, trying to incorporate a championship mentality. It’s why Irving admitted to calling James last month to apologize for how he handled all the criticism from his former teammate, unknowing then that it was building toughness for a title run.
While we know about Kyrie’s phone call to LeBron, we never really had an explanation as to why he felt so compelled to do it; until now. Talking to The Jump‘s Rachel Nichols, here’s what Kyrie Irving said made him clear the air with his former Cavs running mate, per Bleacher Report.
“Apologizing, that was a step for me just to move forward in my life,” he said.
“Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call [LeBron] and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold. I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people.”
He added: “[LeBron] was one of those guys who came to Cleveland and tried to show us how to win a championship, and it was hard for him, and sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world.”
James, who left the Cavaliers to join the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent last summer, said it was a “great conversation,” per Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
“Yeah, we’re in a good place right now,” he said. “Me and Kyrie are in a good place right now. I love the man that he’s becoming, I love the challenges he’s accepted and I always wish the best for him.”
It’s good to see both Kyrie Irving and LeBron James be cool together and all that, but Cavs fans are probably pretty upset this didn’t happen, oh, back in the summer of 2017 prior to Irving’s trade request. Oh well, to steal Kyrie’s words, it’s time to “move forward” in life and not wonder “what if” scenarios.
Now that both James and Irving have reconciled and the former has selected the latter to be his teammate in the past two All-Star Games, there’s already speculation about Kyrie Irving potentially re-joining forces with James on the L.A. Lakers this offseason. So, who knows, maybe the story of Ky and Bron hasn’t had a complete ending just yet.