Kyrie Irving may have won a title playing alongside LeBron James, but after that goal was met, it was clear that he wanted out.
James gets his team to the NBA Finals — something he’s done eight consecutive times — but he also expects the most out of his teammates, and has no problem criticizing them on the court. Not only that, he’s also the most ball-dominant player in the league, so not everyone gets their touches. For other ball-dominant players such as Irving, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, it just doesn’t work to play with James, and understandably so.
Irving recently touched on the challenges on playing on James’ team, in speaking to NBC Sports Boston’s Darren Hartwell.
“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.”
What Irving said makes complete sense, and we understand where he’s coming from.