Kyrie Irving and LeBron James have a highly-fruitful relationship, and the superstar point guard called up Kobe Bryant for guidance on how not to screw it up.
Irving spoke to his mentor about avoiding a feud similar to the one Kobe had with Shaquille O’Neal.
New story: Inside the push and pull between LeBron and Kyrie as Irving preps for the torch being passed from James https://t.co/H6oxGfDztr
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 1, 2017
“It’s a tough balance,” Irving said. “Because everyone knows, Shaq was really dominant and [had] a lot of the individual accolades … unbelievable. And that’s who he was. And Kobe was just consistently working on his game and consistently trying to prove everyone all the time. And you got to commend somebody for that. That just shows the true testament of their will and what they’re willing to do and what they’re willing to sacrifice, but I know I don’t want to look back and say that I let my selfishness get in the way of us winning championships, because we have unbelievable talent on this team and unbelievable players, and so I don’t want to ever take that for granted.
“Whenever that time comes and it’s my time to be the leader of the franchise, then I’ll be well-prepared. But for now, I’m cool with just being — I’m very, very cool with being — a great guy on a great team.”
LeBron, for his part, knows the future belongs to Kyrie:
“First of all, I don’t know how Kobe and Shaq managed their partnership. All I can know, from the outside looking in, [is] that it didn’t work out,” James said. “For me, I see Kyrie growing every single day and wanting to be great. And so me, I just try to give him the blueprint, as much as I can. You know, his experiences, he’s going to learn on his own as well, and that’s what he should do, but all I can do is give him the blueprint, and that’s it. Because he’s going to be around a lot longer than me.
“He’s 25. He’s got at least 10 more years. I don’t. So I want to give him the blueprint and see what he [can] do with it. You know, no matter if we’re teammates for the rest of his career or for the rest of my career, listen, it won’t be because we didn’t want to play with each other no more. It will never be that.”