Kyrie Irving opens up about challenges of playing with LeBron James
The Los Angeles Lakers, especially the younger players on the roster, have been going through a crash course this season on what’s it like be teammates with LeBron James.
Kyrie Irving, who knows all about the challenges inherent to being a teammate of The King, recently weighed in on the matter.
The Boston Celtics star has long been reluctant to discuss James after he essentially orchestrated his way out of Cleveland in the summer of 2017.
In a recent conversation with NBC Sports Boston’s Darren Hartwell, though, Irving took a deep dive on what it’s like playing with LeBron, calling it “definitely a challenge.”
“LeBron is so smart, so talented, such a strong leader,” Irving said. “And you’re trying to implement who you are, and grow as a player and learn every single day. And it can be difficult because it demands a lot of you.
“Certain times young players — and even older ones — find it a big transition, because you’re playing a certain way, and growing as a player, and you have a vision of what your career will look like. And then this player of such great stature arrives, and you’re still trying to be great, and he’s already great. And you find yourself asking, ‘OK, what are the steps to get there?’ So now do you learn by example from watching him? Do you learn by the way he treats his body? By the way he treats his business off the court? By his philanthropic path? So you just watch and you observe.”
Irving added that teammates of James have to be cognizant of “the expectations from the outside and how that can infiltrate your thinking,” adding such issues was “a lot for me to figure out.”
Irving of course enjoyed the most success of his career as James’ teammate, highlighted by the duo leading the Cavaliers to an NBA title in 2016.
As noted, Irving has been reserved if not obstinate when presented questions about his time with James. It would appear that with time, his reluctance to discuss that aspect of his NBA career has diminished.