When the Twitter account known as Basketball Forever called out Dallas Mavericks point guard Kyrie Irving for his lack of success since parting ways with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017, Irving took notice and did not mince words with his response.
“Pin this tweet and see what happens in the next few years,” Irving wrote on August 1, replying to the original tweet’s caption, which pointed out Irving’s failings with four different teams — three missed trips to the playoffs, a first-round exit and two second-round exits.
Irving, 31, is about to enter his first full season with a reloaded Mavericks squad. After Dallas traded Irving from the Brooklyn Nets in February, the team was a disaster. When Irving and fellow superstar Luka Doncic were on the court together the team went 5-11 and finished in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.
Kyrie Irving Had High Praise for LeBron James
Irving and James will forever be linked. For three seasons (2014-2017), the two All-Stars headlined the Cavaliers as one of the most explosive duos in NBA history. They went 161-85 and reached the NBA Finals three times, winning a title in 2015-16.
James, closing in on the finale of his 30s, is still dominating the NBA as he heads into his 21st season. Irving has said he appreciates LeBron’s greatness, lauded his ex-teammate for his longevity.
“We gave the keys to the entire business to an 18-year-old kid, and now he’s 38 years old, and he’s still dominating,” Irving said during a January 30 press conference. “I don’t think we should be surprised. I think we should congratulate and celebrate him as much as possible. Continue to enjoy the shows that he put on because it’s not going to be for too much longer.
“Whenever he decides to play [until], I’m enjoying the show.”
Kyrie Reflects on His Time as LeBron’s Teammate
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, who were the defending NBA champions at the time. And for three seasons, Irving had a front-row seat to watch LeBron’s greatness.
2016 was LeBron’s crowning moment in a basketball career some argue is perhaps the greatest of all time.
LeBron came into the league deemed the next star to usher in the league’s new era. And with failure not being an option, the pressure to be great was placed squarely upon his shoulders.
Not only did James meet the gargantuan expectations, that other people placed on him, he has far exceeded them.
Irving, one of James’ most notable teammates, says the All-Star’s preparation is what separates him from the rest of the pack and praises him for his ability to handle the pressure of being great.
“I definitely saw this when we were playing together,” Irving said during the January 30 press conference. “His ability to prepare himself mentally, spiritually, emotionally, game to game, day to day. I’ve been quoted as saying it’s hard to be LeBron James, or any superstar, or any entertainment, sport, athletic, or business industry because all eyes are on you. But he’s handled it extremely well.”