Kyrie Irving Reflects on Leaving LeBron James, Trade to Celtics, ‘Why Not?’

Kyrie Irving

Getty Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics after his press conference at TD Garden.

No matter what happened between Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics leading up to his departure from the team, Kyrie has never wavered from his stance that he was initially excited to join the Celtics when they traded for him back in the summer of 2017. For both basketball and non-basketball reasons.

In a recent interview on the show, “I Am Athlete” with former NFL Players Brandon Marshall, Pacman Jones, and LeSean McCoy, Kyrie opened up about the summer of 2017 on May 16, 2022.

KYRIE IRVING: Kobe Bryant Changed My Life | I AM ATHLETESUBSCRIBE ➡️ WATCH MORE ➡️ I AM ATHLETE | Episode 32 Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets Point Guard and 2016 NBA Champion joins Brandon Marshall, Pacman Jones and Shady McCoy in episode 32 of I Am Athlete. Watch as Kyrie discusses his basketball journey, his trade request from Cleveland and his relationships with Lebron…2022-05-16T16:00:11Z

Irving talked about his initial feelings when he found out Boston had traded for him, which, according to him, he was very excited about because of both their franchise history and because of his and his family’s history with the city.

“When Boston came calling, I was like, ‘Absolutely, this makes sense!'” Kyrie said. “I was like, ‘Why not Boston?’ It’s the Boston Celtics. This is one of the most historical franchises. My mom and my dad went to Boston University. I got my first offer from Boston University when I was in fifth grade. I used to be up at summer camp (in Boston) for two weeks at a time… It wasn’t foreign to me when they said ‘We want you to be part of our future.'”

From the horse’s mouth, it sounds like Kyrie was looking forward to playing for the Celtics for a whole multitude of reasons back in 2017. However, as everyone knows, his history in Boston was not too strong of an influence on him since he departed for the Brooklyn Nets two years later.

Kyrie Told Boston He Was ‘Most Likely’ to Re-Sign With Them

When Boston traded for Irving in 2017, he had two years left on his contract before entering free agency. Once the trade was completed, the Celtics sensibly asked Irving if he had planned to stay in Boston past the end of his contract. According to Irving, at the time, he said he was planning on it, but wasn’t entirely sure.

“On that phone call, they said, ‘Are you going to sign here long-term?’ to which I said, ‘Yeah, most likely, but I’m not sure yet.'”

From what Kyrie makes it sound like, he wanted to feel out the situation before making any long-term commitments. He must have had a good impression of Boston after his first year since he went out of his way to publicly promise that he planned on re-signing with the Celtics if the fans “would have him back” before his second season in Boston started on October 4, 2018.

Kyrie Irving Shocks Celtics Crowd By Announcing He's Re-signing with Boston Celtics!Kyrie Irving Shocks Celtics Crowd By Announcing He's Resigning with Boston Celtics! Kyrie Irving told the Celtics Crowd and fans "If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here. ” 警告:視頻禁止轉載!!! 警告:視頻禁止轉載!!! ——(All clips property of the NBA. No copyright infringement is intended. All videos are edited to follow the "Free Use"…2018-10-04T23:32:03Z

Irving went on to break his promise when he signed with the Nets that very offseason. Given how tumultuous Kyrie’s second season in Boston turned out, he didn’t exactly break anyone’s heart by the time he left.

Kyrie Was Tired of Being Compared to LeBron

When Irving’s trade request from Cleveland went public in the summer of 2017, many believed that the basis of the trade request came from Irving’s supposedly souring relationship with LeBron James. Kyrie said that at the time, it wasn’t about his relationship with LeBron. More than anything, Kyrie wanted to write his own legacy as a player because he had been compared to LeBron from the very start of his NBA career.

Kyrie came into the NBA exactly one year after LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. Because he was the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, he came into the league being compared to LeBron, and that hasn’t gone away even after leaving Cleveland in 2017.

“When I first got to Cleveland… that was an uncomfortable position for me to be in the city where you got the hometown kid going to the Heat and then I get drafted afterwards, and now I’m being asked every single day, ‘What about LeBron? What about this?'” Kyrie said. “For my career thus far, since I asked for the trade… ‘What’s up with you and LeBron?’ Everybody keeps asking me the same questions over and over again.”

It can be annoying when a player keeps getting asked about another certain player that used to play for the team that the other one currently plays for. Being asked about LeBron seemed inevitable from the start for Irving by virtue of circumstance. That was only going to be amplified when LeBron returned to Cleveland in 2014, so Kyrie wanted a basketball legacy without that did not involve being compared to LeBron.

Kyrie then elaborated on what led up to him requesting a trade in which he implied it wasn’t about his relationship with LeBron.

“I asked for a trade because I was looking for something different,” Irving said. “I was a man of my word when I went to the organization and I sat the higher-ups down and said, ‘Look, I know you have future plans. Tell me right now.’ They told me their future plans and I said, ‘Look, this isn’t for me.'”

Love or hate Kyrie, one thing is for sure. He will write his legacy the way he wants to no matter what the public thinks of him. He doesn’t care what his naysayers think about him leaving LeBron or leaving Boston. One way or the other, he decides his destiny. No one else.

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