Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson entered the NBA together in 2011 and proceeded to spend six seasons as teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers. As a result, the two have gotten to know each other through the years.
Following multiple reports criticizing Irving's demeanor and the effect it has on his teammates, Thompson had a little fun with the situation.
"He's a piece of s--t—no, I'm joking," Thompson told The Athletic's Joe Vardon for an article in the aftermath of Wednesday's game between Irving's Brooklyn Nets and his former team the Boston Celtics. The Celtics won 121-110, and Irving's replacement in Boston, Kemba Walker, scored 39 points while Irving sat out with a shoulder injury.
After cracking that joke, Thompson went on to reveal that he remains friends with Irving even after the guard forced his way out of Cleveland in 2017.
"I see him in the summertime," Thompson added to Vardon. "We hang out. Have some tequila. We're still close, even still today. Me and him are brothers beyond basketball and still are today. Do I wish he was still here? Of course. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't. He's Kyrie Irving, one of the top 10 players in our league."
Irving and Thompson were part of a Cavs squad that reaching three consecutive NBA Finals from 2015 to 2017, winning the franchise's first-ever championship in 2016.
Since being traded to the Boston Celtics and later signing with the Brooklyn Nets, Irving has been heavily scrutinized off the court. In October, ESPN's Jackie MacMullan reported that Irving's "infamous mood swings...are the unspoken concern that makes Nets officials queasy."
Irving has been sidelined the past seven games with his shoulder injury.