Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James are on different teams now. But once upon a time, they headlined the Cleveland Cavaliers as one of the most explosive duos in NBA history. Irving and LeBron were a part of the historic Cavaliers team that came back from a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals to beat the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. Although LeBron was named the Most Valuable Player of that Finals, Irving hit the biggest shot of the series. He netted a go-ahead three over reigning two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, Stephen Curry, to seal the historic win for Cleveland.
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Kyrie Irving Sends Message to LeBron James Amid Drama
Now, Irving is looking to secure his second title alongside 2-time Finals MVP, Kevin Durant. Back in 2020, Irving did an interview, praising Durant for his ability to hit big shots in clutch moments. But LeBron took exception to Kyrie’s praise for Durant, as it was perceived by many as a shot at the Lakers star.
During a May 4 interview on Boardroom’s “The ETCs” podcast, Kyrie attempted to shed light on the drama between he and the 4-time Finals MVP. Irving wanted to reiterate that his comments were not meant to be a shot at LeBron, emphasizing that he “respected the hell” out of his former Cavaliers teammate.
“Shout out to LeBron, you know what I mean. He felt like I was slighting him, and I would never slight him in a way that would probably make him go and have to respond to things like that, you know what I mean? I respected the hell out of him. We’ve been through our own battles as teammates, as competitors together. So, like that’s all part of it, bro,” Irving said to Eddie Gonzalez on the latest episode of “The ETCs”.
“It’s all fun, but when you gotta — like, when you gotta — go and communicate through alternative channels, that only makes things worse. You feel me? You know what I mean? That’s like water under the bridge in terms of how people perceive what’s being said and then how I actually meant it.”
Irving Feared Trade or Release From Nets
Kyrie only played 29 games for the Nets this season after refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. This caused him to miss the first four months of the season after the team sidelined him completely, because he was barred from playing home games at Barclays Center under the city’s vaccination rules. Even though he is, in many ways, one of the NBA’s most irreplaceable talents, he remained unsure about whether the Nets would keep him.
“It was only the journey to enjoy at that point because … [I wondered] whether I was going to be traded, whether I was going to be released, whether I was going to get the opportunity to be on another team, how I was going to spin this for myself in a positive way,” Irving said to Eddie Gonzalez on the May 4 episode of “The ETCs”.
Irving and LeBron both had their 2022 seasons ended prematurely. You can be certain that both stars will be looking to redeem themselves heading into next season.