Kyrie Irving made some comments that irked LeBron James.
Back in October, Kyrie Irving appeared on the first episode of Kevin Durant’s podcast, The ETCs. Irving made headlines when he told Durant that he felt like “the best option on every team I’ve played for down the stretch,” adding that playing with Durant was “the first time in my career where I can look down and be like, ‘That mother—– can make that shot too.” Let’s not forget that Kyrie Irving played with LeBron James.
Irving’s remarks, whether he meant it or not, appeared to imply that he couldn’t trust LeBron James in crucial moments. Well, James finally broke his silence and responded to Irving when he spoke with ex-Cavs teammate Richard Jefferson and former Cavs reporter Allie Clifton on the Road Trippin’ podcast.
"“I played with Kyrie for three seasons. The whole time while I was there, I only wanted to see him be the MVP of our league. I only cared about his success. And it just didn’t align. It just didn’t align. And we was able to win a championship. That’s the craziest thing. We were still able to win a championship and we could never align. But I only cared about his well being, both on and off the floor. And it kinda hurt me a little bit,” James said."
Irving’s comments came at a time where James’s focus was on winning his fourth NBA title.
"“It was a (expletive) up time. It was a (expletive) up time,” James said. “Because it was the Finals … the middle of the Finals. … When I was seeing that and I read it, and then I got the full transcript and I heard it, I was like, ‘Man, (expletive).’ I was like, ‘Are you (expletive) kidding me?’… I was like, ‘God damn.”"
Irving and James were teammates from 2014-2017. They reached three consecutive Finals and won the title in 2016 by overcoming a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors.
In that same series, Irving and James became the first pair of teammates to score 40 points apiece in a Finals game. James led both teams in the five major statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.
Irving most notably hit “the shot” — a game-changing three-pointer over Stephen Curry — which is why many people think of him as a clutch performer. Conversely, the narrative that James isn’t a clutch performer is baseless.
According to ClutchPoints.com, of the seven game-winning buzzer-beaters in James’ career, five of them have come in the playoffs. James is the all-time leader in postseason buzzer-beaters. If that isn’t clutch, I don’t know what is.
James and Irving provided many memorable moments throughout their tenure, and their on-court chemistry was undeniable. However, if you remember how their relationship started, there was always a feeling their divorce was inevitable.
In the immediate aftermath of Irving agreeing to resign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James overshadowed his announcement by returning to Cleveland. Irving was always second-fiddle to James, and that bothered him as time waned. It culminated when Irving forced his way out of Cleveland, leaving James to contend with the Durant-led Warriors without much help.
Since then, Irving floundered in his newly-sought leadership role with the Boston Celtics, and James has, well, reached the NBA mountaintop again without Irving.
Irving’s Nets will play James’s Lakers for the first time this season in February. The Lakers are currently favored to win the title and the Nets have the third-best odds, according to the oddsmakers. Let’s hope we can see the Nets-Lakers in the NBA Finals.