Kyrie Irving Says Clutch Shots Comment Wasn't Meant as Slight to LeBron James

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, right, and Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving chat with their mouths covered during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

It is going to turn plenty of heads whenever a former teammate of LeBron James' says the upcoming season is the first time he can trust a teammate to make a clutch shot.

Especially if that former teammate is Kyrie Irving.

However, the Brooklyn Nets point guard bristled at the idea his previous comments were directed at anyone in particular, saying "Why must it always be brother against brother? Why? If I'm addressing anyone, I'll say their name. Don't listen to the false narratives."

The comments come after he appeared on Kevin Durant's The ETCs podcast and said playing with Durant will be the first time he trusts a teammate to make a clutch shot in the fourth quarter.  

"I felt like I was the best option on every team I played for down the stretch," Irving said. "This is the first time in my career where I can be like, 'That motherf--ker can make that shot too.'"

That Irving feels so highly about Durant should come as no surprise.

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After all, the 10-time All-Star and four-time scoring champion is one of the best offensive players in NBA history and proved how clutch he can be as a two-time NBA Finals MVP during his time on the Golden State Warriors.

Durant is a matchup nightmare with the height to shoot over defenders and the athleticism to blow right past them when they press up on his perimeter game. If he and Irving remain healthy, they will be incredibly difficult to stop in crunch time of any Nets game when defenses are put in a pick-your-poison scenario.

Still, it is difficult to hear Irving's comments about thinking he was clearly the best option on previous teams and not immediately think of LeBron.

Not only is James on the shortest of shortlists when it comes to the best players in NBA history, he helped guide the Cleveland Cavaliers to a championship when he was playing with Irving. He is also in the middle of his 10th career NBA Finals, underscoring how clutch he is even when he's not playing alongside Irving.

Yes, Irving made what proved to be the game-winning three in the final minute of Game 7 of the NBA Finals as the Cavaliers won the championship, but it is the implication that he didn't see James as a "motherf--ker [who] can make that shot too" that raised eyebrows.

Perhaps that is why Irving felt it necessary to offer a further explanation.