Back in 2020, former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving made a statement about Kevin Durant that raised some eyebrows in regards to Irving’s history of playing alongside LeBron James.
Essentially, Irving stated that with Durant on the Brooklyn Nets, he finally had a teammate that he thought was worthy of taking last-second shots when a game is on the line. Of course, fans and pundits alike immediately framed the quote as a slight to James.
As it turns out, James saw it that way as well. According to Irving himself, James felt slighted by the comment, and Irving had to make amends with the player that he won the 2016 NBA title with for the Cavs.
“Hey, shout-out to Bron,” Irving said when the topic of his previous quote was brought up. “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 respect the hell out of him. We’ve been through our own battles as teammates, as competitors together.”
Given Irving’s history with headline-making quotes, fans will likely take this explanation with a grain of salt. Irving is probably being fully honest when he says he respects James, but that does not mean that he didn’t know what he was doing when he made the previous statement.
For Cavs fans, everything that has to do with Irving is somewhat bittersweet. Of course, Irving played a pivotal role in the 2016 championship. Unfortunately for the organization, his tenure with the team didn’t last much longer than that, as he requested a trade in 2017.
Since then, he’s played on two teams and been at the center of multiple controversial storylines. While his talent is immense, it seems the headaches he can cause for coaches, teammates and team executives can also be pretty sizable.
Ironically, neither James nor Irving even got the chance to take any truly big shots in the playoffs this season. James and his Los Angeles Lakers failed to make the playoffs at all. The Nets lost in the first round of the playoffs in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics.