LeBron James: Kyrie Irving’s comments about clutch shooting ‘hurt me a little bit’

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, left, and Kyrie Irving play the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016.
LeBron James, left, and Kyrie Irving played together for three seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

LeBron James admitted that comments from his former teammate Kyrie Irving stung during an appearance on the “Road Trippin’” podcast.

Speaking on Kevin Durant’s podcast “The ETCs” during the NBA Finals, Irving said he was excited to play with Durant on the Brooklyn Nets because for the first time in his career he was partnered with a player who can make big shots too.

“I felt like I was the best option for every team I played for down the stretch,” he said.

James and Irving played together for three seasons with Cleveland before Irving forced a trade.


“Once I got the whole transcript, I was like, ‘Damn.’ I wasn’t like, ‘Oh, you trippin.’ I’ve hit game-winning shots my whole life.’ I was not like that,” James said. “I was like, ‘Damn.’ Because ... I played with Kyrie for three seasons. The whole time when I was there, I only wanted to see him be MVP of our league. I only cared about his success. And it just didn’t align. It just didn’t align.

“And we were able to win a championship — that’s the craziest thing. We were still able to win a championship, and we could never align. But I only cared about his well-being, both on and off the floor.

“And it kind of like hurt me a little bit.”

The Lakers need to look out for themselves and take care of their leader. If they want to repeat, they need LeBron James to take regular-season games off.

Dec. 7, 2020

On the podcast, James said he still can’t believe the Clippers faltered in their series against Denver. James said, save for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, all the Clippers’ trash talk made it seem like they’d embrace the chance to meet the Lakers.

“I couldn’t fathom the part where they did not seek that opportunity when it was right there,” he said.

James also said he feels like two of his title wins — with the Lakers this year inside the NBA bubble and with Irving and the Cavaliers in 2016 against the record-setting Warriors — were the “two hardest championships” in NBA history.

But the discussion about Irving was the rawest, with James saying he truly believed Irving should be a MVP and that his presence in Cleveland was part of the reason he decided to return to the Cavaliers.


But the timing of the podcast was problematic, James said.

“It’s always been something when I’ve been in the Finals that comes out that tries to distract me from my mission,” James said.