Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving called former teammate LeBron James to apologize for “being that young player” when both were in Cleveland.
Irving, fresh off a 27-point, 18-assist performance in Wednesday night’s staple victory over the Toronto Raptors, told reporters he delivered his mea culpa to James last Saturday after the Celtics’ frustrating loss in Orlando that resulted in Irving airing his displeasure with coach Brad Stevens and teammate Gordon Hayward.
“Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold,” Irving said. “I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people.
“ was one of those guys who came to Cleveland and tried to show us how to win a championship, and it was hard for him, and sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world,” Irving said.
Irving said Saturday that the Celtics lacked “experience” but then apologized after being called out by teammate Jaylen Brown, who said the team “can’t be pointing fingers.”
“I did a poor job of setting an example for these guys of what it’s like to get something out of your teammates,” Irving said Wednesday. “You go and you say something publicly, and it ends up received in so many different ways, and you never know how fragile or what guys are going through when you say things like that. You’re expecting results, but at the same time, I should’ve kept it in-house.
“ was right. I gotta do the right things and not point fingers at individuals and really realize what we can do as group, despite when we go on the road or the mishaps we may have.
Cleveland’s Kevin Love told The Athletic he was out with LeBron in L.A. when Irving called to apologize.
“LeBron looked down at his phone and he showed us,” Love told The Athletic. “He was like, ‘I wonder what he wants?’”
—Field Level Media