Former Cavs teammates Kyrie Irving and LeBron James re-connect for leadership advice

Kyrie said he apologized to LeBron for not appreciating his leadership during his time in Cleveland

Ben Fontana
January 17, 2019 - 10:28 am
Oct 17, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) meet after the Cavs beat the Celtics 102-99 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports


The Boston Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night, 117-108, and after the game, Celtics star and former Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving revealed he called LeBron James for some advice.

Because of some Celtics turmoil caused by Irving calling out his younger teammates after a loss to the Magic on Saturday, Irving said he apologized to his former teammate James, admitting he wasn't the best teammate throughout the early years of playing alongside each other.

"I had to call (LeBron James) and tell him, I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips," Irving said. "I've been the young guy, being a 22-year-old kid and I wanted everything. I want everything right now. Coming off an All-Star, starting, and this heck of a presence coming back and now I have to adjust my game to this guy."

"Going forward, I want to test these young guys but I can't be a bully like that," Irving stated. "I want to get the best out of them but I can't do it personally like that. I want to get the best out of them but I can't do it personally of really realizing the magnitude of my voice and what I really mean to these guys. I want to see them do well and do that -- where I empowered them."

Irving ultimately requested a trade from the Cavaliers in 2017 after claiming he was ready to lead a team of his own. The 5-time All-Star struggled with injuries with the Celtics, and now is reaching back out to the 4-time MVP for advice after the two shared deep playoff runs in Cleveland.

"Having that moment to be able to call a guy like that where we've been through so much, where we won a championship together, where we're one of 31 teams, 32 teams to ever do something like that," Irving said. "It takes a real man to go back, call somebody like that.

 "It takes a real man to go back, call somebody and be like, 'hey, man. I was young. I made some mistakes. I wasn't seeing the big picture like you were. I didn't have the end of the season in mind. I just wanted to get my stats and make All-Star games.'"

Irving dropped 27 points to go with a career-high 18 assists in a season-defining win on Wednesday night. That call with James, now with the L.A. Lakers, must have helped.

"It was just good," Irving explained. "And it gave me a peace of mind to go about what I have to do. Obviously, I'm going to be competing against him (James) the best and everybody else in the league. But it was good."