(via SB Nation)

Kyrie Irving has drawn a lot of criticism lately for the way he’s handled his duty as the VP of the NBPA. While he’s allegedly trying to help all voices be heard, some think he’s got an agenda and he doesn’t represent the interest of the players. They call him a troublemaker.

That’s why his former teammate Ryan Hollins went on to his defense in Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson’s podcast this week, claiming that he’s not a bad guy like most people point him out and instead is a pretty laidback player trying to do his own thing:

“Kyrie is a great dude. Humble, down to earth, cool…if anything like — you know what’s funny, like of all the guys that were in the team, he hung out with Luke Harangody the most. And Like was a Notre Dame guy and some type of ACC connection was there. Like, Kyrie is not big on going with the norm or trying to be cool or popular. He doesn’t mind being outside the box. Cool, down to earth. Great dude man,” Hollins said.

And now that Irving is no longer the kid he was when Hollins was in town, Ryan feels like he’s just trying to make a name for himself and get the respect he’s due as one of the best players in the league:

“So, I think Kyrie’s trying to come into his own, he wants the respect that he deserves,” he added.

And on a more interesting and controversial note, Hollins actually threw a little shade towards LeBron James, claiming he’s the one who thought Kyrie how to be a bad leader. In fact, he ended up his point by claiming that he doesn’t even think Kyrie is a natural leader:

“LeBron can’t cast a shadow, he [Irving] has a lot of maturing to do as we all have. You gotta think these 23, 24, 25, 26-year-old guys casting a big spot so, to be honest, I looked at the content and the intentions behind your heart. Who you are versus trying to stunt on somebody because you’re 25 years old and you don’t know any better. But I think the way those two butted heads kind of left a bad imprint on Kyrie. It was bad business. It was some things that LeBron did. You know, Kyrie learned some poor leadership from LeBron and some of the stuff he did and I think Kyrie tried to come into his own in a different way. But very smart, very intelligent you know, really soft-spoken and trying to find out how to be a leader. I DON’T think Kyrie is a natural leader,” Hollins concluded.

Let’s remember that Hollins often likes to say hot takes out loud and that’s what’s granted him a bit of a poor reputation among NBA fans so everything he says must be taken with a grain of salt.

Still, he wouldn’t be the first player to call out James’ leadership, although most of the league has always had nothing but praise for the King as a teammate. I guess we’ll never know the truth.

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