Kyrie Irving Doesn't Care If LeBron James' Feelings Are Hurt
BOSTON (CBS) -- It's just not every day that an NBA superstar requests a trade to get away from the best player in the world. So when Kyrie Irving does interviews -- even months removed from the initial reports of his trade requests to get out of Cleveland -- the topic is naturally a bit of a sticking point with those asking questions.
That was the case on Monday, when Irving joined "First Take" on ESPN and was hit with a series of questions of whether or not he consulted with LeBron James prior to going to ownership to request a trade.
Irving said he did not feel a need to talk with his teammate about the change he wanted for himself.
Here's how the back-and-forth with Stephen A. Smith went:
Smith: "Did you speak to LeBron James or talk to LeBron James before you and your representatives met with ownership and let them know that you wanted out?"
Smith: "Why not?"
Irving: "Why would I have to?"
Smith: "If you don't speak to somebody about it, they might take it personally."
Smith: "Do you care about that at all?"
The clip above made for the easiest soundbite, but Irving followed it up with a much more expansive answer.
"I think we're forgetting one important thing," Irving said. "I don't think that you owe anything to another person in terms of figuring out what you want to do with your life. And it's not anything personal, I'm not hear to tirade anybody, I'm not hear to go at any particular person or the organization, because I have nothing but love for Cleveland. I have nothing but love for the times that I spent there. It's nothing about that. It just, there comes a time when you mature as an individual. It's time to make that decision. And there is no looking back from that standpoint. There's no time to figure out how to save someone's feelings when ultimately you have to be selfish in that in figuring out what you want to do. It wasn't about me not wanting to win. It wasn't anything about that. I want to be extremely, extremely happy in perfecting my craft. And that was the only intent I had in all of this."
Irving, 25, was drafted by the Cavaliers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, when James was still a member of the Miami Heat. James became Irving's teammate in 2014, and they made three straight Finals together, winning a championship in 2016. James was named the Finals MVP, though it was Irving who hit the series-winning shot in Game 7.
Yet this summer, Irving requested a trade, and the Cavaliers and Celitcs were able to execute a blockbuster that sent Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland and Irving to Boston. The two teams will play each other on the NBA's opening night on Oct. 17.
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