Kyrie Irving and LeBron James have plenty of history as former teammates, but there’s still love between the two despite a turbulent past.
After James led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 128-113 victory with his 10th triple-double (27 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) of the season against the Brooklyn Nets, Irving shared some love for LeBron.
“We do have history. I think that the magnitude of our relationship extends way beyond the floor,” Irving said, via SNY. “I’m just appreciative. I’ve learned so much from that guy. To see what he’s doing at this age and this many years in the league, he’s consistent and that’s a great player right there.”
Irving appeared to troll James after a challenge overturned a call in their matchup on Thursday, but judging by his postgame comments, it was all in good fun.
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving Clashed in Cleveland
However, Irving later apologized to James for his behavior in Cleveland, telling reporters last year that he called his former teammate to clear the air.
“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.
“[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.”
LeBron James Close to Passing Kobe Bryant on Scoring List
After 27 points against the Nets, James climbed closer to passing Kobe Bryant for No. 3 on the all-time scoring list. James now has 33,626 points, just behind Bryant’s 33,643. On Saturday he’ll have a chance to pass the five-time NBA champion and Lakers great in Philadelphia — Bryant’s hometown.
“Any time I am linked with the greats or I am able to do something in my career where I’m mentioned with the greats is a pretty cool thing,” James told reporters after the game. “But as far as looking at the scoring, I don’t know. That doesn’t mean much to me.
“Just the overall point of my game is what means more to me: being an all-around player, being able to be successful on the floor and being able to contribute to the franchises that I played for, the three franchises I played for so far in my career.”
Bryant addressed James encroaching his record and might be the one cheering loudest for him to do it.
“I don’t know if people want that or want to have this kind of contentious thing where you don’t want records to be broken or people there to surpass you,” Bryant said, via Mark Medina of USA Today. “You should be happy for the person that comes after you to be able to surpass things that you’ve done. It’s kind of juvenile to think or to behave any other way.”
James currently leads the NBA in assists with 10.8 per game to go with his 25.2 points and 7.7 rebounds in 34.8 minutes a game. All that in his 17th NBA season.