Did Kyrie Irving take shot at LeBron James with Kevin Durant compliment?
Kyrie Irving is probably the furthest player from LeBron James’ mind as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for Game 2 of the NBA Finals, but Irving may have provided his former teammate with some bulletin board material.
During his appearance on “The Etcs with Kevin Durant” podcast this week, Irving was asked whether he or Durant will be taking the final shot during games with the Brooklyn Nets next season. In the process of praising Durant and saying either player is worthy of taking the final shot, Irving said he always felt like he was the “best option” for that role on his previous teams. Beware that the clip contains some inappropriate language.
KYRIE IRVING ON KD: "I felt like I was the best option on every team I’ve played for down the stretch. This is the first time in my career where I can be like that mother*****r can make that shot too.”
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 1, 2020
“One thing I’ve always been comfortable with is I felt like I was the best option on every team I played for down the stretch,” Irving said. “This is the first time in my career where I can look down and be like, ‘That motherf—er can make that shot, too.'”
Irving and LeBron played together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, of course. Irving hit the biggest shot of the 2016 NBA Finals when the Cavs defeated the Golden State Warriors, so perhaps that validated his belief that he should be the guy taking the final shot over LeBron.
LeBron is certainly capable of taking the last shot and has many times, but he also deliberately creates opportunities for his teammates in those situations. That’s the main reason stats show Irving was a much better shooter in the postseason with LeBron commanding all kinds of attention.
Kyrie Irving playoff career:
On floor with LeBron
47% FG pct
43% 3-pt FG pct
No LeBron on floor
41% FG pct
34% 3-pt FG pct
— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) October 1, 2020
Either way, it would not exactly be a shock if Irving was intentionally taking a swipe at LeBron. It’s no secret that the two did not get along, though they seemed to patch things up at one point. Irving’s comments were undoubtedly more about building up Durant than taking LeBron down.