, playing against [url=http://www.buccaneersshopnfljersey.com/Vernon-Hargreaves-Iii-Jersey]http://www.buccaneersshopnfljersey.com/Vernon-Hargreaves-Iii-Jersey[/url] a 73-win Warriors team that had dispatched the Cavaliers one year earlier. He shot poorly early in the series, absorbing criticism that he was shrinking in the moment.
But not on June 19, 2016. It was Game 7 and a tie score with 53 seconds remaining. After an inbounds pass from LeBron, Kyrie held the ball, dribbling six times toward the right wing, where JR Smith set a screen on Klay Thompson, a stout defensive player, and that forced the smaller Steph Curry to switch onto Irving.
Irving hesitated for a second, then stepped back and lofted a 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of the league's reigning MVP, a shot Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert later declared "the most important possession of our lives." It swished, and Cleveland's long, painful championship drought was history.
Irving finished with 26 points and six rebounds. LeBron submitted a [url=http://www.authenticnewyorkmetsshop.com/Keith-Hernandez-Jersey]Keith Hernandez Womens Jersey[/url] triple-double and was named Finals MVP. The two embraced at midcourt, the cornerstones of Cleveland's future. Nineteen months later, Irving is in Boston and rumors are swirling that James could soon leave Cleveland too. LeBron cornered the NBA notion that athletes should dictate their own destinies; Irving ripped that page out of James' book and implemented it accordingly.
Together, over three years, the duo played in two All-Star Games and three Finals. They weren't particularly close, nor were they openly at odds. Teammates say LeBron's habit of referring to Irving as "the kid" and his "little brother" was eventually viewed by Irving as a subtle lack of respect. Another player, advised by the Cavaliers not to discuss Irving publicly, noted that LeBron also predicted Irving would be an MVP one day.
Today, when [url=http://www.officialpittsburghpenguins.com/Adidas-Sidney-Crosby-Jersey]http://www.officialpittsburghpenguins.com/Adidas-Sidney-Crosby-Jersey[/url] asked if he feels that James viewed him as a basketball equal, Irving answers, "I don't know if he did or not, but I don't really care. I didn't lose any sleep over it." Those close to Irving insist his leaving wasn't all about LeBron, and not one of them was surprised that Irving asked to move on from Cleveland.
In 2015, Irving was named third-team All-NBA and had a right to believe it could be a recurring [url=http://www.officialbluesauthentic.com/authentic-29-vince-dunn-jersey.html]http://www.officialbluesauthentic.com/authentic-29-vince-dunn-jersey.html[/url] phenomenon. Instead, Damian Lillard, Thompson and Kyle Lowry were chosen ahead of him in 2016. Last season, it was Isaiah Thomas, John Wall and DeMar DeRozan."[Playing with LeBron] has its positives,'' Irving says, "and it also comes with responsibilities. It was clear to me that we needed each other."
Irving was the point guard in name, but LeBron often assumed his role as a ball-dominant point-forward in crucial situations. It produced results. The team averaged 54 wins and went to three straight Finals in their three seasons together. But Irving's teammates say there were times Kyrie felt marginalized -- despite the fact that over the three years, he averaged nearly the same usage rate without LeBron (29 percent) as he did with him (28.6).
"Ky wasn't as happy last year," says one of his former teammates who talks with Irving regularly. "He wasn't disruptive -- just a little disconnected." "Happiness comes and goes in the NBA," Cavs veteran Channing Frye says. "Kyrie had every right to do what he wanted." "I saw Kyrie high, I saw him low," Iman Shumpert says. "He's seen me tear up a locker room. We're friends. You help each other through it.'' During a rare practice in the middle of last season, coach Tyronn Lue, who was standing next to assistant coach and Irving confidant Phil Handy, called out to his young point guard.
"Ky," Lue said, "I want you to play a little faster." "Why?" Irving asked. "Because if we play faster, we [url=http://www.officialcardinalsbaseball.com/authentic-2-red-schoendienst-jersey.html]Authentic Red Schoendienst Jersey[/url] get shots off easier." "I don't need to play faster to get my shot off," Irving replied. "I can do that anytime." "I'm not talking about your shot. I'm talking about RJ and JR," Lue said, citing teammates Richard Jefferson and Smith. "Well, that's No. 23's job," Irving replied, referring to James.
According to members of the Cavs organization who witnessed the exchange, Lue ended the conversation by walking away, shaking his head. Both Lue and Handy, whom Irving affectionately calls his "OG," [url=http://www.seahawksshopfooball.com/Cliff_Avril_Jersey]Cliff Avril Authentic Jersey[/url] confirmed the incident but declined to elaborate. "Kyrie is a great player," Lue says. "Please tell him I wish him the best."Irving, for his part, laments the fact that his conversation with Lue ended without a resolution. "At that time, we had probably lost [url=http://www.officialbuccaneersnflstore.com/YOUTH+KEVIN+PAMPHILE+JERSEY]Authentic Kevin Pamphile Jersey[/url] a few [games]," Irving says now. "[Lue] is coming up to me and saying, 'We've got to play faster,' and I probably wasn't willing to accept it at the time. So maybe I'd like a do-over on that.
"But those conversations go on every day in the NBA. In this case, instead of those things being addressed so you can move forward, it gets held on to, and it becomes a big thing. I was trying to figure out where I fit in and at the same time asking myself, 'What's best for the team?' Sometimes, I didn't know the answer. I had to figure it out on my own. It wasn't like I was getting answers from everyone else."
When the 2016-17 season ended, Irving was making millions. He had his own shoe campaign. He'd been to the Finals again. Yet something, he says now, was missing. "Sometimes, in the search for 'the moment,' you can get lost," Irving says. "I want to be an All-Star. OK. I want to be MVP. OK. I want to win a championship. I want to average this much. I want to be better than this person. I want the media to accept me this way. "You start formulating all these false realities, and you realize that's not it at all. Once I separated myself from that, I started looking at things I wanted to do with my life [url=http://www.officialauthenticredsox.com/authentic-26-wade-boggs-jersey.html]http://www.officialauthenticredsox.com/authentic-26-wade-boggs-jersey.html[/url] that would make me happy." [url=http://www.wholesaleelitejerseysonline.com]cheap jerseys paypal[/url] [url=http://www.authenticcheapjerseysfromchina.us.com]cheap nfl jerseys usa[/url] [url=http://www.authenticjerseysfromchina.com]wholesale jerseys paypal[/url] [url=http://www.wholesalejerseyfromchinabiz.com]cheap nfl jerseys from china[/url] [url=http://www.goodcheapnfljerseys.com]nike nfl jerseys from china[/url] [url=http://www.authenticcheapjerseys.us.com]nike nfl jerseys wholesale[/url] [url=http://www.cheapjerseys90.us.com]nike nfl jerseys cheap[/url] [url=http://www.wholesalelimitedjerseys.com]nfl jerseys china[/url]