Kyrie Irving called LeBron James to apologize for not appreciating his leadership as a young player

Posted at 7:22 AM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 07:23:51-05

CLEVELAND — Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said he called LeBron James following Saturday's loss against the Orlando Magic and apologized for the way he handled criticism and his leadership when the two were teammates in Cleveland.

"Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call [LeBron] and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold," Irving said speaking to reporters after Wednesday's victory against the Raptors.

"I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people," Irving added.

Irving's apology comes after his outbursts towards coach Brad Stevens and Gordon Hayward on Saturday.

James, who had won championships during his time in Miami, came back to Cleveland and played with Kevin Love and Irving to win a championship in 2016.

"He [LeBron] was one of those guys who came to Cleveland and tried to show us how to win a championship, and it was hard for him, and sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world."

In 2017 when Irving asked for a trade from the Cavs, it was, in part, to be a leader of a championship team. Now, he finds himself in the same position as James did and understands what he was trying to do for the team and the city.

"You take it personal, but at the end of the day, he wants what's best. And he has a legacy he wants to leave, and he has a window he wants to capture," Irving said.

Irving admitted he is still trying to figure out the responsibilities with the new role and understands the benefit of experience and hindsight.

"So, I think what that brought me back to was like, all right, how do I get the best out of this group to the success they had last year and then helping them realize what it takes to win a championship," Irving said.