LeBron James had one of the most complex relationships with Kyrie Irving while they both were part of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyrie was expected to become the next LeBron James of the Cavs after the latter joined the Miami Heat in 2010. When they joined forces in 2014, everybody was convinced that was going to be a great match for the Cavs and on some level, it was.
They went to three consecutive NBA Finals and won a championship in 2016, but Kyrie decided to end his partnership with LeBron in 2017 when he was traded to the Boston Celtics. A lot was said about that move, including that Kyrie didn't want to play under the shadow of LeBron anymore and he wanted to demonstrate he could lead a team to the championship. In recent months, Kyrie said somethings about his former teammates that made a lot of noise around the league.
When talking about playing alongside Kevin Durant, Irving said he felt it was the first time he could trust somebody else to take the last shot in a game. Of course, those words didn't sit well with anybody and most people believed that was a shot at LeBron James. Well, Bron thought the same and he recently explained on Road Trippin' how he felt learning about Kyrie's words.
"I was a little like, 'Damn.' Once I got the whole transcript, I was like, 'Damn,'" James said. "I wasn't like, 'Oh, you trippin'. I've hit game-winning shots my whole life.' I was not like that. I was like, 'Damn.' Because ... I played with Kyrie for three seasons. The whole time when 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. It just didn't align. And we were 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 well-being, both on and off the floor."
It seems like Bron was very confident in Kyrie's potential and he confirmed that with his words. He tried to be a mentor for the point guard but that didn't work for him. However, things didn't click between them and Bron revealed his true feelings about Kyrie, explaining he wanted him to become an MVP at some point in his career.
"Ky is one of the most talented players I've ever played with in my life. The kid -- I don't even want to call him 'kid.' He's not a kid anymore, but back then, he was. He was a young kid still growing into his own, and the s--- that he was capable of on the floor I had never seen before," James said. "I had so much confidence in him. I actually told Kyrie, I told him at one point when we were playing together that if you were not a league MVP someday, then you were selling yourself short. Because that's how much I believed in him.
"And it was part of the reason why I came back home. Besides the unfinished business, I came back home because I saw the talent in him."
What started as a very good duo has become a very interesting rivalry in recent years. Bron is now with the Lakers and Kyrie with the Nets; they could have the chance to settle this thing in the 2021 NBA Finals if both teams make it to the big series.