Earlier this offseason, Kyrie Irving made some news by appearing on new Brooklyn Nets’ teammate Kevin Durant’s podcast and saying that it was the first time in his career he felt he had a teammate who could make the tough, clutch shots like himself.
Of course, that was taken as a dig towards LeBron James by many people. Irving and James famously starred together in Cleveland and helped bring the Cavaliers their first NBA championship. That relationship seemed to eventually sour, leading Irving to ask for a trade that saw him move to Boston before his eventual move to the Nets.
It turns out that fans and pundits weren’t the only ones who felt that way about the Irving soundbite. James himself appeared on the Road Trippin’ Podcast with Richard Jefferson and Allie Clifton and was pretty candid about his reaction when he first heard the news, making sure to note that he had his people get him the full transcript so as to not take Irving’s words out of context.
Here’s what LeBron had to say:
“I was a little like ‘Damn.’ […] Because – you [Jefferson] were there for a couple seasons – I played with Kyrie for three seasons. The whole time while I was there, I only wanted to see him be an MVP of our league. I only cared about his success and it just didn’t align. And we was able to win a championship. That’s the craziest thing. We were still able to win a championship and we could never align but I only cared about his wellbeing both on and off the floor. And it kind of hurt me a little bit.”
This might be the first time James has truly acknowledged the behind-the-scenes issues between the two of them even during the championship year. It seems to genuinely come from a place of hurt as he explained.
Irving is a complicated dude, as we all know. LeBron is obviously an overbearing presence even if he means well in a certain relationship. For whatever reason, their personalities didn’t mesh and things did not work out. But it’s clear that James is more hurt by petty comments after the fact than any hard feelings about a break up that both sides have claimed they’ve mended.