The 2018-19 NBA season is far from over, but lots of controversial things have already happened to Boston Celtics superstar Kyrie Irving. In an exclusive interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN, which is currently posted on Twitter, the 26-year-old All-Star point guard decided to address some of the issues he has been involved with, including his controversial phone call to former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James and his struggle to coexist with the Celtics’ young core.
In his second season with the Celtics, Kyrie Irving started to realize how hard it was to lead a team mostly consisting of young players. That reminded him of his days in Cleveland when he was still playing under the shadow of LeBron James. Irving recalled some of the things he did wrong to James, which prompted him to call the Los Angeles Lakers superstar and apologize.
Kyrie Irving told Rachel Nichols of ESPN that his call to LeBron was necessary and called it a step for him “to move forward” with his life. As of now, it is safe to say that there is no longer bad blood existing between James and Irving. James praised Irving for his recent actions, saying that it takes a “real man” to do what the Celtics superstar did.
Kyrie Irving: The media can destroy locker rooms, and has https://t.co/qSQSQD9S0l— The Celtics Wire (@TheCelticsWire) February 20, 2019
Kyrie Irving also has something to say about his young teammates, whom he frequently criticizes whenever the Celtics struggle.
“We basically have a bunch of young men in our locker room who feel like they’re capable of doing a lot more than they’re doing,” Irving said, as transcribed by Yahoo Sports. “And that’s OK, but there’s a maturing that you have to have.”
When Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward returned from injuries, the Celtics immediately emerged as the number one favorite to fully dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference in the 2018-19 NBA season. However, some of the Celtics’ young players, including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier, struggled to make adjustments with their game to make them fit alongside Irving and Hayward.
Aside from the performances of his young teammates, Kyrie Irving doesn’t seem to be content with the way Coach Brad Stevens uses him, saying that he’s receiving less playing time compared to other Celtics players.
“I initially didn’t play the minutes I wanted to play,” Irving said. “I’m 26-years-old, heading into my prime, like, why do I have to wait for anybody?”
Keeping Kyrie Irving should be a main priority for the Celtics, especially if they really want him to sign a long-term contract to stay in Boston next summer. After committing to re-sign with the Celtics before the 2018-19 NBA season started, Irving recently had a change of heart and said that he wants to keep his options open in the 2019 NBA free agency.