The relationship between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving got off to a rough start this season—LBJ initially had a tough time getting through to his headstrong, and occasionally selfish young teammate.

Over time, LeBron won over the All-Star point guard, and Irving says he’s in awe of James’ otherworldly ability.

Kyrie’s burgeoning talent is one of his main reasons LeBron re-joined the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer.

Per the NEOMG:

“I was just speechless,” Irving admitted. “I became a fan to be honest with you. It’s a different feeling when you’re on a team with someone you’ve watched for so long.” […] In their first season together, Irving and James averaged 47.0 points per game as a tandem — more than the 45.5 points by Golden State’s Splash Brothers, or anyone else in the NBA. James’ uncanny talent has been on display for years. However, his rare combination of strength and athleticism, jaw-dropping talent, offensive prowess, stifling defense and on-target passes aren’t the only qualities that wowed Irving.

 

“When you get to see them up close, with the work he puts in, the dedication he has and the drive and will he has, I don’t want to say we jumped on his back, but we were all there for him,” Irving said of James. “He was doing his thing, but I think a true testament of him is that he embodies a leader. The true testament and the word team is embodied with the guys we have here. We have so many different personalities and so many guys, when you have a leader like him that brings you up and lifts you up in every situation, there’s never going to be a time where you look at him and he’s going to look frazzled or doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

 

“He always knows four steps ahead,” Irving said. “And it’s like, ‘I wasn’t even thinking about that. What the heck? He saw that coming?’ It’s a learning experience and you’re constantly on your P’s and Q’s because he expects you to be at your best and he wants you to be at your best. If you have a guy like that the basketball stuff will take care of itself. He does amazing things. I appreciate seeing that. I don’t take that for granted, but the nuances of the game that go unnoticed sometimes and not everyone can see or experience, it’s just a different feeling.” […] “Part of the reason I decided to come back from the beginning was how special he was. I noticed that,” James said. “To see him grow and see him learn what it means to truly be a professional every day since I’ve been here is a been a huge reward and it’s great to see it. To see his mind process so many different things over the course of these months and be able to translate that not only on the court but off it as well, has been a treat to watch.”