Kyrie Irving ‘took as much knowledge’ from LeBron James and ‘moved on’
Kyrie Irving made some provocative comments this week about his relationship with LeBron James before things went south with the Cavaliers and he forced his way out of Cleveland to join the Boston Celtics. And Irving’s thoughts on the issue made it quite clear he was never comfortable playing second fiddle to James.
Interestingly, Irving made the point that he gleaned as much basketball I.Q. as he could out of James, benefited from it and made the best move to further his career.
In a broader discussion on Tuesday about the development of young Celtics stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Irving weighed in on the perception that he was “the man” with the Cavaliers after being taken with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Irving took issue with such a notion, arguing that being a 19-year-old rookie didn’t merit such a designation. That said, Irving was the Cavaliers’ biggest star for three seasons before James returned to Cleveland in 2014. However, Irving took umbrage with the suggestion he assumed the role of “lieutenant” — which was suggested by a reporter — when James came back.
“Lieutenant?” Irving asked, via NBC Sports Boston. “I didn’t really see it as that. I saw it as a point in my career where I could grow. I took as much knowledge as I could and moved on with my career. From that point I learned a lot about myself and how much of a competitor I am.”
Irving went on to note that the lessons he learned from James — among other Cavs veterans — will serve him well in Boston as he passes on the wisdom to the Celtics’ young players.
Given Irving’s comments this week — along with reports related to how he orchestrated his way out of Cleveland — it’s abundantly clear there was no way he and James could have ever coexisted. Perhaps things will be different for Irving in Boston with him assuming the role of mentor, not mentee.