Kobe Bryant Says Kyrie Irving Has to Emotionally Connect with Supporting Cast

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10:  Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks to Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers after the game at STAPLES Center on March 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Kobe Bryant had some advice for Kyrie Irving on how to be a leader for the Boston Celtics

The former Los Angeles Lakers star discussed the challenges for Irving Thursday on SiriusXM Radio (via John Karalis of MassLive.com):

"The next move for [Kyrie] is figuring out how to get the most out of the pieces around him. That's really hard. And understanding how do you find an emotional connection with each player, figure out what their fears are, and help turn those fears into strengths. And to do that you have to put time in. And I don't mean time in the gym. I mean time listening. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Talking to guys, listening to what they're saying."

Bryant also noted this was similar advice he received from Michael Jordan before leading the Lakers to back-to-back titles in 2009-10.

This was after a disappointing loss to the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals.

Irving is in the midst of an outstanding individual year, averaging 23.8 points to go with a career-high 7.1 assists per game. Unfortunately, it has been an up-and-down season for the Celtics, which entered the year as a favorite to win the Eastern Conference but sit in fifth place entering Friday.

This comes after the point guard asked for more responsibility with the team.

"I wanted to be the guy that led us to change," Irving said in January, per Kaelen Jones of Sports Illustrated. "I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that. And the responsibility of being the best player in the world and leading a team is something that's not meant for many people."

As Bryant noted, however, it takes work to be a leader.

While the future Hall of Famer was with the Lakers his entire career, Irving is only in his second year with Boston. Still, it will be up to him to do what is necessary off the court to help the Celtics bring home a championship.