LeBron James Admits That He Misses Playing With Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving is back in the NBA Finals for the first time since he played alongside LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the four-time MVP is excited about his former teammate’s success, he recently admitted that he misses playing with him.

“I’m so f**king happy and so proud to watch him continue his growth,” James said during the latest episode of his Mind The Game podcast with JJ Redick. “At the same time, I’m so f**king mad at the same time that I’m not his running mate anymore.” He spoke about how he calls Irving “the wizard” because there is “nothing on the basketball floor that Kyrie couldn’t do.”

“I just remember those times,” he continued in his celebratory rant about the Dallas Mavericks guard. “To have a guy like Kyrie Irving as the ultimate wild card, that’s like having a Draw Four in your hand every time someone deals you cards in UNO. […] ‘Oh sh*t, Dallas may be able to not only win the Western Conference Finals, they might be able to win the whole thing […] I have so many words to praise Kyrie that I end up with absolutely none […] He’s the most gifted player the NBA has ever seen.”

The Dallas Mavericks, led by Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, prepare to take on the Boston Celtics in the 2024 NBA Finals on Thursday (June 6). LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers, on the other hand, were ousted in the first round by the defending champions, the Denver Nuggets, in five games. James hasn’t made an NBA Finals since leading the Lakers to a championship victory in 2020, the same year Kobe Bryant passed away.

Irving, on the other hand, hasn’t been back to the NBA Finals since 2017 when he played with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Together, the duo led the Cavs to three straight NBA Finals from 2015 to 2017, all against the Golden State Warriors. They lost in 2015 and the next year they made history as the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit and defeat Golden State in seven games.

Irving is lauded as the hero in that series for his game-winning three-point shot in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. In 2017, they lost in five games to a strengthened Warriors team that added Kevin Durant to their roster. That following summer, the New Jersey hooper shocked the world and requested a trade from the Cavs, which was granted, as he was sent to the Boston Celtics.

LeBron James sought a reunion with Kyrie Irving as recently as last NBA season. ESPN reported that the Los Angeles Lakers offered Russell Westbrook and two future first-round picks to Irving’s former team the Brooklyn Nets, which was declined. Irving was ultimately traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he is now thriving.

“I can’t sit here and say I’m not disappointed on not being able to land such a talent, but [also] someone that I had great chemistry with, and know I got great chemistry with on the floor, that can help you win championships, in my mind, in my eyes,” James told ESPN in February 2023.

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