When Kyrie Irving was introduced to the Boston media a little more than two weeks ago, he was asked often about why he sought to be traded away from the Cleveland Cavaliers and star teammate LeBron James. At the time, Irving said he did so because he wanted to fulfill his potential and that the trade request had nothing to do with James.
Today, Irving seemed to double-down a bit on those comments while also clarifying just what (little) role James had in his choice. As a guest on ESPN's "First Take" this morning, Irving spoke with Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman about the trade, his outlook in Boston and more.
In particular, a discussion between Irving and Smith was enlightening about why Irving opted to leave Cleveland.
Smith: “Did you speak to LeBron James or talk to LeBron before you and your representatives met with ownership to let them know that you wanted out?”
Smith: “Why not?”
Irving: “Why would I have to?”
Smith: “If you don’t speak to somebody about it, they might take it personally.”
Smith: “Do you care about that at all?”
He also echoed statements from his introductory news conference about seeking to create his own pathway in the NBA and additionally said he was not looking back in his career at all:
"I don't think you owe anything to another person in terms of figuring out what you want to do with your life. It's not anything personal, I'm not here to tirade anybody or to go at any particular person or the organization because I have nothing but love for Cleveland. I have nothing but love for the time I spent there. It's nothing about that. There comes a time where you mature as an individual, it's time to make that decision, and there is no looking back from that standpoint. There is no time to figure out how to save somebody's feelings when ultimately you have to be selfish in figuring out what you want to do."
“I want to be extremely, extremely happy, like, in perfecting my craft. And that was the only the intent that I had in all of this.”