Kyrie Irving dismisses obligations to LeBron James in captivating 'First Take' interview

Kyrie Irving dismisses obligations to LeBron James in captivating 'First Take' interview

Kyrie Irving appears insistent on asserting his independence from LeBron James.

In a captivating, yet uncomfortable interview on ESPN’s “First Take,” Irving bluntly stated he didn’t care to solicit James’ opinion on his trade request from the Cavaliers. Cleveland dealt Irving to the Celtics in late August.

Smith: “Did you speak to LeBron James or talk to LeBron James before you or your representatives met with ownership to let them know that you wanted out?”

Irving: “No.”

Smith: “Why not?”

Irving: “Why would I have to?”

Smith: “If you don’t speak to someone about it, they might take it personally.”

Irving: “Yeah.”

Smith: “Do you care about that at all?”

Irving: “No.”

Later, Irving explained his desire to grow as an individual, echoing statements from his introductory Celtics press conference Sept. 1. 

“I don’t think you owe anything to another person in terms of figuring out what you want to do with your life,” he said. “It’s not anything personal, I’m not here to tirade anybody or to go at any particular person or the organization because I have nothing but love for Cleveland. I have nothing but love for the time I spent there. It’s nothing about that. There comes a time where you mature as an individual, it’s time to make that decision. And there is no looking back from that standpoint. There is no time to figure out how to save somebody’s feelings when ultimately you have to be selfish in figuring out what you want to do.”

It’s apparent Irving felt there was a limit to the personal fulfillment he could receive playing in James’ shadow. In his goodbye to Cleveland on Instagram, Irving didn’t mention the 2016 NBA championship or three consecutive trips to the Finals. In fact, he didn’t reference any of his on-court accomplishments at all. Irving referred to himself as an “evolving man” who’s taking another step in his journey. 

He echoed similar language on “First Take” when talking about why he wanted out of Cleveland. “I want to be extremely, extremely happy in perfecting my craft and that was the only intent I had in all of this,” he said. “”You can’t put a price on happiness.”

The Celtics will open up their season against the Cavaliers Oct. 11. Irving will have an opportunity to back up his words on the court immediately. 

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