Kyrie Irving and LeBron James move rivalry from basketball court to the multiplex

Writer
Yahoo Movies
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, right, hugs the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving following their game in Boston on Feb. 11. (Photo: AP/Michael Dwyer)
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, right, hugs the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving following their game in Boston on Feb. 11. (Photo: AP/Michael Dwyer)

The NBA was rocked last summer when Kyrie Irving demanded, and received, a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the rival Boston Celtics. While Kyrie claimed he was simply ready to try to lead his own team to glory, the truth seemed more complicated — and thornier — than just that. Kyrie was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cavs in 2011, thanks in large part to LeBron’s departure for the Miami Heat the prior year; then, after assuming the mantle of new franchise savior, Irving was forced to accept a second-fiddle role when LeBron decided to return to Cleveland in 2014.

As LeBron’s running mate for the past three years, the duo went to three straight NBA Finals and won the 2016 championship by beating the Golden State Warriors, with Kyrie hitting the Game 7-winning shot over league MVP Stephen Curry. Nonetheless, friction over top-dog status (as well as personality clashes) remained, and Irving’s eventual move to Boston consequently reverberated around the sports world as a direct rebuke to James. Though LeBron recently selected Kyrie to be on his squad during this weekend’s All-Star Game at L.A.’s Staples Center, and the two shared an embrace at their respective teams’ showdown in Boston earlier this week, suspicions persist that there’s still bad blood between the two — and now it appears that their ongoing feud may be spilling over into movies.

Kyrie Irving as Uncle Drew in the eponymous film. (Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate)
Kyrie Irving as Uncle Drew in the eponymous film. (Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate)

Yesterday a collection of new motion posters was released for Uncle Drew, an upcoming comedy in which Kyrie — reprising the role he originated in a series of digital Pepsi Max shorts he also wrote and directed — stars as a 70-something former basketball legend who embarks on a road trip to reunite his old team (Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie).


For a prominent athlete in the midst of arguably his best season to date, it’s a bigtime foray into moviemaking for the celebrated Celtics point guard and one that should be dropping a debut trailer any day now, considering it premieres in theaters on June 29.

However, not to be outdone, LeBron has announced today that he’ll be spearheading a remake of House Party that will be written by Atlanta scribes Stephen Glover and Jamal Olori.


The film will be produced by LeBron and partner Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment and currently has no release date. Of course, this news may merely be timed to the fact that everyone is heading to Hollywood this weekend for the league’s All-Star festivities. Still, the conspiracy theorist in us suspects that LeBron — who has additionally been rumored to headline a Space Jam sequel — is intent on stealing some of Irving’s showbiz spotlight and continuing to try to one-up his former teammate in whatever competitive arena possible.

On top of that looming Kyrie-LeBron cinematic showdown, Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant, who led his team over the Kyrie-LeBron Cavaliers in last year’s NBA Championship, is also readying a scripted drama series for Apple.


Swagger is inspired by Durant’s experiences as a teenager playing in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in and around his native Washington, D.C. This, it seems, is further proof that NBA rivalries will be heading to a screen near you in the imminent future.

What to Read Next