Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving spoke about his new teammate Kevin Durant, while appearing to cast some shade at his former teammate LeBron James in the process.
Irving spoke candidly about Durant’s ability to come up big in the clutch and seemed to slight James for his performance in crunch time.
Irving was talking to Durant and co-host Eddie Gonzales on the Boardroom when he spoke of the scoring champ’s ability to hit shots in crunch time.
“I felt like I was the best option on every team that I played for down the stretch,” said Irving.
“This is the first time in my career I can look down and be like, ‘That motherfucker can make that shot too.’”
Many believe that Irving’s comments were a diss aimed at James, the best player Irving has ever played with.
Irving, 28, is probably best known for his iconic game-winning three-pointer in game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals alongside James. The Cavaliers were the first team to ever overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals and will go down in history for vanquishing a Golden State Warriors team with the best regular-season record in NBA history.
James has been criticized at times — both fairly and unfairly — for his inability or unwillingness to take the last shot in clutch situations.
Irving was a known closer for the Cavaliers and had the potential to send opponents home with his cold-blooded shot-making down the stretch in many games during his tenure in Cleveland.
It’s hard to determine whether or not Irving was speaking about Durant’s scoring mentality or was taking a veiled shot at a former teammate.
Irving and James played together for three seasons before Irving requested a trade from Cleveland to lead his own team in Boston.
The two have had a weird relationship that has been chronicled throughout the years. Many people reported that Irving didn’t like being treated as a little brother to James throughout their time with the Cavaliers. However, Irving did call James during his time in Boston and apologized for “being a young player that wanted everything at his fingertips.”
Irving’s claim about Durant seems to be a surprise from many in the basketball world, considering James is in the midst of trying to capture his fourth championship as the Lakers take on Miami in the NBA Finals.
Irving and Durant have not yet played together since becoming teammates in Brooklyn, but will likely be one of the best squads in the Eastern Conference next season. Durant will be returning after a full year of rehabbing an Achilles injury he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals as well as recovering from COVID-19.
Who knows whether Irving was throwing shade. Either way, it will be a marquee matchup every time the Nets and Lakers face off next season.