Kyrie Irving called LeBron James to apologize: ‘I wanted to be the guy who led us to a championship’

Kyrie Irving said Wednesday he called LeBron James over the weekend to apologize to him for criticizing his leadership while they were teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving, 26, said he called the NBA superstar after the Boston Celtics’ loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday. At the time of the call, James, 34, was out to dinner with former teammate Kevin Love, The Athletic reported. James, Irving and Love were part of the trio that led the Cavaliers to their first NBA Championship in 2016.

Irving and James have not spoken much since he was traded from the Cavaliers to the Celtics in 2017, according to the Boston Herald.


Irving told reporters that he had to call James to apologize for failing to understand the burden the superstar carried when they were teammates on the Cavaliers.

"I had to call Bron, and tell him I apologize for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips," Irving said after the Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors, 118-107. "I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that."

On Saturday, Irving called out his younger teammates following the loss and said: “We have a lot of learning to do.” He was also seen yelling at teammate Gordon Hayward after missing the last shot.

However, Irving admitted that he regretted what he said.

"I did a poor job of setting an example for these young guys what it's like to get something out of your teammates," he said. "Going forward, I want to test these young guys, but I can't do it publicly. That was a learning experience for me, realizing the magnitude of my voice and what I mean to these guys."


Irving said he realized that he was in the same situation as his younger teammates which prompted him to call James.

"He's been in this situation, been there with me, where I've been the young guy, been the 22-year-old kid, wanting everything, wanting everything right now," Irving said, according to

"The responsibility of being the best player in the world and leading a team is something that's not meant for many people,” he continued. “And 'Bron was one of those guys that came to Cleveland and tried to really show us what it's like to win a championship. And it was hard for him. Sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world. Fewer are meant for it or chosen for it. And I felt like the best person to call was him."

James currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers but was injured last month and has not played since leaving a game against the Golden State Warriors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.