The Boston Celtics prevented a bad week from becoming a disastrous one by beating the conference-leading Toronto Raptors last night. Kyrie Irving played particularly well, scoring 27 points and handing out 18 assists while making some big plays in the fourth quarter. The win must have had him feeling sentimental, because after the game he revealed to reporters that he recently called LeBron James to say sorry for being a little jerk while they were teammates.
Irving went into the anecdote while reflecting on the Celtics’ recent three-game losing streak, which was peppered with Irving taking public shots at his younger teammates who, by Irving’s calculation, don’t yet understand what it takes to Win The Big Games, or something. “I had to call Bron, and tell him, like, I apologize for being that young player who wanted everything at his fingertips,” said Irving.
The move that Irving is trying to pull here is pretty obvious: He wants everyone to know that he, once the headstrong young whippersnapper who needed to be taught important lessons, is now the wise old veteran who is ready to impart those same lessons on the next generation of young whippersnappers. It’s a neat way of making a public apology while also being self-aggrandizing.
Except, none of this really tracks. Yes, Irving has the experience of winning an NBA championship, but the teammates he is now trying to strike a paternal pose over are not unproven. These are the same guys who, while Irving sat on the bench, rumbled through last season’s playoffs and were one game away from the Finals. In many ways, Irving’s teammates are in fact more accomplished Winners Of The Big Game than Irving himself is. For example, here is a list of things they have done that Irving has not:
- Won a single playoff game without LeBron James on their team
- Won a playoff series without LeBron James on their team
- Won two playoff series without LeBron James on their team
I’m sure those guys just love getting sniped at every time Irving opens his mouth in front of reporters.