On Thursday, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers faced off with the Brooklyn Nets. It was also a reunion of former Cleveland Cavalier teammates LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. LeBron and Kyrie have a storied, rocky history and during the game, TNT cameras caught Kyrie trash-talking his former teammate.
TNT Cameras Caught Kyrie Trash-Talking LeBron
During the second quarter Nets’ center, DeAndre Jordan got hit with a defensive three-second call and the Lakers chose LeBron James to shoot the technical free throw. LeBron has been a notoriously bad free-throw shooter for much of his career and he is shooting just 71.1% from the line this season. As you can guess, he missed the free throw.
After LeBron misses the free throw Irving can be heard asking James’ Laker teammates “That’s your best free throw shooter?”
“that’s your best free throw shooter?” pic.twitter.com/oM2IW1gUbJ
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) February 19, 2021
Kyrie and LeBron Have History
Kyrie and LeBron have a historied beef after the seven-time All-Star’s ugly exit from Cleveland. At the beginning of the season, he made an appearance on his teammate Kevin Durant’s podcast The ETCs and was asked by Durant’s co-host if there were 10 seconds left in the game who was taking the last shot between him and KD. His answer was interesting.
“One thing I’ve always been comfortable with is I felt like I was the best option on every team I played for down the stretch,” Irving said on The ETCs via Sports Illustrated. “This is the first time in my career where I can look down and be like, ‘That motherf—er can make that shot too.”
The comments were perceived to be a shot at LeBron, but Irving vehemently denies that claim.
“Why must it always be brother against brother? Why? If I’m addressing anyone, I’ll say their name,” Irving said in an Instagram video via Bleacher Report.
“Why must it always be brother against brother? Why? If I’m addressing anyone, I’ll say their name.”
Kyrie denies taking shots at LeBron after his comments on KD’s podcast pic.twitter.com/2LSnCv6Dby
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 1, 2020
James and Irving were teammates from 2014-2017. They made history in 2016 when they became the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals. While Kyrie hit possibly the biggest shot in NBA history, James received the Finals Most Valuable Player award. James later addressed Kyrie’s comments.
“Once I got the whole transcript, I was like, ‘damn,'” LeBron said on the Road Trippin’ podcast with Richard Jefferson via CBS Sports.
Damn… @kingjames addresses Kyrie’s statements made during the NBA Finals. SUBSCRIBE to get it when it drops @RoadTrippinPod @channingfrye @RealAClifton ✊🏾✊🏾. https://t.co/3t6kFNCOC4 pic.twitter.com/KcHfjqkf91
— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) December 8, 2020
“I wasn’t like, ‘Oh you tripping, I’ve been hitting game-winning shots my whole life.’ I was not like that. I was like, ‘Damn.’ Because I played with Kyrie for three seasons, and the whole time I was [in Cleveland], I only wanted to see him be the MVP of our league. I only cared about his success, and it just didn’t align.”
There was, of course, the 2016 NBA title, in which James and Irving combined to push the Cavs to an unlikely seven-game series win after being down in the series, 3-1, to a 73-win Warriors team.
“We was able to win a championship, that’s the craziest thing,” the four-time Most Valuable Player continued. “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 kind of hurt me a little bit.”
The Lakers and the Nets are the favorites to win their respective conferences. If Kyrie and LeBron do end up meeting in the postseason, it could make for one of the best NBA Finals ever.