Kyrie, LeBron, And Why Time Heals All Wounds

Kyrie Irving cold left LeBron James in Cleveland, but now he’s open to rejoining The King in LA. 

If Kyrie Irving never left Cleveland, LeBron James probably wouldn’t be in LA right now. Irving’s departure sparked a domino effect that changed the landscape of the league.

Once you knock dominos down you can’t easily put them back up again. Irving, who at one time said he believed the world was flat, always has his own way of looking at things. Now that he understands his role in the NBA pecking order, he’s trying to make everything right in the world again.

The only duo to beat Golden State in the last half decade is LeBron and Irving. Who says you can’t put the band back together after a rough breakup? Dipset did it. EPMD did it. NWA did it.

Now Irving wants to make another platinum hit on the hardwood with the band member who was at his side at the peak of his success.

Part of maturing —  the journey from boy to man —  is being able to admit your mistakes. When Irving demanded a trade out of Cleveland following the 2016-17 season he no longer wanted to be in the shadow of the biggest brand in the business. 

He was already an NBA Champion apparently with a healthy ego and high self-image. Most of the basketball community commended him for wanting to be his own man, be the No. 1 option and get all of the praise when he leads his team to victory. On the other hand, some people thought he was nuts to leave LeBron James and a trip to the ECF each year.

After 1 ½ seasons with the Celtics, a leadership role that seems forced at times with all of the burgeoning talent being suppressed in the process, no championship hardware to show for it and an impending 2019 free agency on the horizon, it seems Kyrie is having second thoughts.

Reports say he wants to hook back up with LeBron in LA and it’s something Kyrie is definitely considering. The expression “time heals all wounds” holds true here. When Kyrie forced the trade out of Cleveland, he had very little to say about the subject and he didn’t call James to discuss it, despite their recent history of success.

Kyrie acted as he saw fit, probably a bit immaturely, but that’s part of the learning process that people go through. He was feeling himself after that masterful performance in the 2016 NBA finals in which he took the biggest shots down the stretch en route to Cleveland’s first NBA championship.

https://youtu.be/fZ8yCJgsF_4

Despite Kyrie’s MVP performance, LeBron James got all of the ink. Kyrie’s ego, undoubtedly the whispers of his inner circle and his own hunger for respect, led to him leaving.

Best Laid Plans

His Boston career started with a bang. Irving was in the MVP conversation in the first half of last season, but an injury derailed his appearance in his first playoffs with the Celtics.

We know how the rest of the story goes:

Given little chance to advance in the playoffs without Irving and Gordon Hayward who was lost in the season’s first game, the Celtics rode a trio of young emerging stars to the Conference championship, where they fell to LeBron and Cleveland in a hard-fought, seven-game series.

When Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier performed so magnificently in the playoffs, we knew that this season would be challenging with free agent All-Stars Irving and Hayward returning.

https://youtu.be/FfHZYU4JkTc

At first, Irving seemed to try and work his game around everyone else. Eventually, he decided to be the player he came to Boston to be – but the chemistry is off. With the emergence of young talent and draft picks in the stash, it’s not guaranteed that Danny Ainge will give Kyrie a max deal this summer. There had been rumors of Kyrie going to the Knicks in free agency and a few other teams.

When he gave LeBron a call to “apologize” for how he handled their breakup, that was definitely eye-opening. Now, Kyrie is ready to totally eat crow and crawl back to James as a member of the Lakers. Very strange indeed, but at the end of the day, Irving wants to compete for championships. Boston, as currently constructed, may not be the best fit for him to win a title.

With the public discussion about Anthony Davis joining LeBron in LA getting so blatant that the NBA fined the Pelicans star $50,000 for violating the CBA, Kyrie is looking at the future and probably envisions himself fitting in perfectly with Brown and Davis and becoming a true contender again.

Playing with Bron, who has a true passion for the game and understands the next level of winning is something Kyrie misses as well. During the Celtics’ struggles this season, Kyrie has complained about his team’s lack of closeout ability, basically questioning their championship mettle.

https://youtu.be/cbtlMfNWDGs

What a difference a year makes. Irving has gone from Alpha baller to apologetic strategist hoping that this time, LeBron can bail him out and get him back on the championship track.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.