Kyrie Irving made certain not to directly mention LeBron James nor the NBA title title-drought the two ended together in Cleveland in his farewell video to Cleveland Cavaliers fans.
In a video message “just to Cleveland,” Irving, who was officially dealt to the Boston Celtics earlier this month, reflected “to my teammates, crazy stories, crazy experiences, and unbelievable human beings, man.”
The Akron Beacon Journal reports Irving went on to talk about a “brotherhood,” without ever mentioning by name the man his time in Cleveland is most closely associated with.
In all, the four-time All-Star guard and three-time champion James led the Cavs to three straight NBA finals appearances against Steph Curry and the rival Golden State Warriors.
Still, Irving stunned NBA Nation by marching into the office of owner Dan Gilbert early in the off-season and expressing that he wanted out.
In return for dealing him to Boston, the Cavaliers netted All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Ziric, and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected 2018 first round draft pick.
The Celtics have since added a second-round pick to the mix as compensation for Thomas’ lingering hip injury.
In the video, Irving assured all “there are no other ulterior reasons other than being happy and wanting to be somewhere where you feel like it’s an environment that’s conducive for you maximizing your potential as a human being and as a player perfecting their craft.”
Since news of Irving longing for greener pastures became public, speculation has run rampant that he and James were somewhat at odds and the 25-year-old star on-the-rise no longer wanted to be under his thumb.
“I just want to say all the individuals that I met over my six-year span, I don’t say it as if this is ending friendship or anything like that, you guys understand how much those moments meant to me,” Irving added. “As guarded as I am and as everyone likes to say that I have a wall up, spending two minutes or five minutes asking someone genuinely about themselves is what I truly care about. To be able to share those moments with everyone in Cleveland and everyone in Ohio and doing something that was an unbelievable experience for all of us, I still can’t believe just the feats that we reached in a six-year span. I’m truly grateful and I’m thankful. I love all you guys.”
Whatever friction that may have existed between Irving and James in the locker room rarely reared its head on the hardwood, where the two often clicked like hand and glove.
Irving connected on the game-winning shot in the 2016 NBA Finals that propelled the Cavs to their first title in more than a half-century, in a Game 7 where he and James took turns thwarting the Warriors.
In Boston, ESPN reports Irving is expected to form a new “Big Three” with newly acquired forward Gordon Hayward and veteran big man Al Horford.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]