Celtics All-Star Speaks Out on His Kyrie Irving Experience

Kyrie Irving Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics

Getty Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics take up defensive positions against the LA Lakers.

Following Wednesday night’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics find themselves clinging to a .500 record with just a game and a half separating them from the No. 9 Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference. It’s a far cry from the situation on the same date just three years ago, when Boston was sitting pretty at No. 2 with Kyrie Irving pacing the club to a 47-22 mark.

Although the Celtics were significantly better with Irving leading the charge, though, not everyone speaks glowingly about him or his legacy in Beantown.

In February, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck seemed to indicate that some of the current club’s struggles could be traced back to Irving. At the least, he is well aware that the move to acquire the multi-time All-Star did not play out as expected.

“You know, we had hoped Kyrie would stay forever and lead us all the way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s on maybe the best team in the league right now and so, that’s that. And that change touched off a lot of stuff. Because he left, we weren’t able to maybe recruit free agents in the same way and, you know, a bit of a domino effect. But it is what it is.”

In a recent interview, the Celtics’ current top dog — Jayson Tatum — shared his own thoughts on the two years he spent with Irving. However, he offered a decidedly different commentary than Grousbeck.

Tatum’s True Feelings About Kyrie

Earlier this week, Tatum spoke with FanSided’s Mark Carman about a myriad of topics. Regarding his experience with Kyrie, the two-time All-Star had this to say:

“I enjoyed it, my first two years in the league, being on the team with him. Obviously, we didn’t achieve the ultimate goal, but there was a lot of learning experiences. Somebody I’m still really close with today. Obviously, a hell of a basketball player, a hell of a person. I mean, I enjoyed it. Obviously, there were ups and downs and things like that. But you know, I feel like that’s with any team.”

Clearly, Tatum values the time he spent with Irving. And if he holds any ill will for the way in which the 2016 NBA champion’s tenure in Boston came to an end, he isn’t allowing it to show.

Jayson Tatum: Kyrie Irving gets too much undeserved blame | NBA InterviewJayson Tatum sits down with Maria Taylor to break down his first three years with the Celtics (2:00), he also doesn't hesitate to set the record straight about Kyrie Irving (6:30), and he discusses his relationships with Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown (7:00). #JaysonTatum #Celtics ✔ Subscribe to ESPN+ plus.espn.com/ ✔ Get the ESPN App:…2019-12-11T21:00:11Z

Tatum also indicated that he has fun squaring off against his former teammate as an opponent.

“I enjoyed playing against Ky,” Tatum said. “Often talking to each other during the game, before and after. So it’s always fun playing against somebody that you have a relationship with.”

Tatum Shares Memories of Kobe Bryant

More than a year after Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant passed away in a tragic helicopter crash, the wounds caused by the accident still feel fresh in NBA circles. During his interview with Carman, Tatum talked about his own relationship with Bryant.

“I think the last few years he was very helpful. Now that he wasn’t playing anymore and he had his free time, obviously, he was writing books and doing short videos and you saw him at a bunch of games and working out with people like myself and other guys. I think he was more … I don’t want to say attainable, he was easier to talk to and you could reach out to him a lot more with the free time,” he said.

“It was just his willingness to give guys knowledge and just try to help the younger generation. That’s something that you can’t get back and it’s priceless.”

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