Earlier this month, Kyrie Irving made an interesting statement that, at the time, was perceived to be a shot at his former teammate, Lebron James.
“I felt like I was the best option on every team I’ve played for down the stretch. This is the first time in my career where I can be like ‘that motherf*cker can make that shot too.'”
-Kyrie Irving on KD
(🎥 @boardroompods )
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 1, 2020
Since the end of their tenure as teammates in 2017, the narrative regarding the two has been one of strife. Their perceived rivalry has much of the NBA community looking for subtle shots they may or may not be taking at each other.
However, in a recent appearance on the “Load Management” podcast, Iman Shumpert made an attempt to diffuse the storyline, implying that people have their relationship all wrong.
“People are going to forever think they’re (Kyrie and LeBron) taking shots at each other, and it’s sad because although they can’t be on the same team, it’s not like that. I don’t think it’s like that. It’s nothing wrong with somebody not wanting to play with somebody because they feel like that’s the best — he’s the best, — ‘I wanna beat him.’ What the hell is wrong with that?”
“People are going to forever think they’re (Kyrie and LeBron) taking shots at each other… it’s sad.” @imanshumpert explains what Kyrie meant by his last shot comments.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) October 14, 2020
He also cleared up the comments Irving made about trusting Durant, dismissing the notion it was somehow a negative towards LeBron.
“That’s facts. LeBron makes the correct decision, no matter what. Sometimes, he’ll make an incorrect decision, but in his heart, every time, it’s for the right decision. Ky will make the wrong decision on purpose to put it on him.
The comment is more to say ‘KD is somebody that I trust because I know if it’s in his hands, he’s going to get his shot up, he’s gonna shoot it.’ You can just sorta trust him.”
Kyrie inked a 4-year, $141 million deal with the Nets last summer in large part because of the opportunity to play with KD.
The two will take the court together for the first time next season, with hopes that it will lead to success. Despite much uncertainty about how things will play out, it’s clear that both Irving and Durant have amassed a lot of love and respect for each other.
It seems like a good place to start if nothing else.