Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving expanded Wednesday on the telephone call he made to LeBron James earlier this season, recounting that he told his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, “I didn’t have to deal with that the same way I dealt with that.”
Irving broke down the phone call with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, saying his contact James, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, was needed to move forward. Irving and James led the Cavaliers to a NBA championship in 2016, but the duo could not repeat the feat in 2017 and Irving eventually requested a trade.
He was dealt to the Boston Celtics and is averaging a career-best 6.9 assists per game this season while scoring 23.6 points a game, more than a point over his career average.
“Now, mind you, I have no regrets in terms of any decision I made, going about my individual journey and what I want and foresee for my career,” Irving said. “But for me, it’s just ... apologizing, yeah, that was a step for me, just to move forward in my life.”
There was also word of a call Irving made to James during the All-Star break, but he declined to discuss that conversation.
While Irving returned from a knee sprain to play Sunday in the All-Star Game, James has been working his way back from a Christmas Day groin injury that cost him 17 games, plus another game of rest after he returned.
With the Lakers just 28-29 this season and three games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, James says he is about to jump on the gas pedal as the post-All-Star Game schedule is set to begin. The Lakers play host to the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
“It’s been activated,” James said after practice Wednesday, about his intensity level moving forward.
The Lakers have missed the playoffs in each of the past five seasons. James has participated in the NBA Finals in each of the past eight seasons, and his teams have reached the playoffs 13 consecutive seasons, a streak he does not intend to break.
James admitted that he rarely picks up the intensity this far from the end of the regular season, but he doesn’t seem to have a choice this time around.
“I’m all about being uncomfortable,” James said. “I love being uncomfortable. I fall in love with being uncomfortable. This is another uncomfortable thing for me, and I love it.”
—Field Level Media