Kyrie Irving and LeBron James appear to enjoy playing together, but there originally were doubts about if the duo would work.
When James elected to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers before the 2014-15 NBA season, there were questions about whether or not he and the ball-dominant Irving could coexist.
But the star point guard got some advice on how to share the floor with another ball-dominant player from someone whose inability to coexist with another star cost him a number of NBA championships — Kobe Bryant.
Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal won three consecutive titles with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000 to 2002, but the dynamic duo had a poisonous relationship that led to O’Neal being traded to the Miami Heat following the 2003-04 season.
Irving didn’t want to have the same friction with James and told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin he talked to Bryant regarding his relationship with O’Neal.
“It’s a tough balance,” Irving told McMenamin. “Because everyone knows, Shaq was really dominant and (had) a lot of the individual accolades … unbelievable. And that’s who he was. And Kobe was just consistently working on his game and consistently trying to prove everyone all the time. And you got to commend somebody for that. That just shows the true testament of their will and what they’re willing to do and what they’re willing to sacrifice, but I know I don’t want to look back and say that I let my selfishness get in the way of us winning championships, because we have unbelievable talent on this team and unbelievable players, and so I don’t want to ever take that for granted.”
James and Irving already have one NBA championship under their belt, and thanks to Bryant’s advice, whatever it was, it doesn’t appear the two will be breaking up anytime soon.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images