After a turbulent few weeks for the Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving told reporters today that he called LeBron James to apologise for taking his leadership for granted during their time together in Cleveland.
MORE: 5 takeaways from Boston's thrilling win over Toronto
Now as 'the man' in Boston, Irving is figuring out just how tough it is to bring together a squad and get the best out of everybody in their quest for an NBA championship, saying that he apologised to James for "being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips."
After Boston's 105-103 loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday, Irving said the "young guys don't know what it takes to be a championship level team," later admitting that he "should have kept it in house" when speaking publically about his younger Celtics teammates.
Kyrie was frustrated with Gordon Hayward and Celtics' last shot 😬 pic.twitter.com/sqnaW8amkq- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 13, 2019
Outside of Aron Baynes, who won a championship in 2014 as a bench player with the San Antonio Spurs, Irving is the only member of the current Celtics group to win an NBA title and as the 26-year-old navigates his new role as the team's leader, he seems to have gained some perspective on his departure from Cleveland and the tough job James had leading the team to three-straight Finals appearances.
"I wanted to be all that and the responsibility of being the best player in the world and leading the team is not meant for many people," Irving added. "Bron was one of those guys that came to Cleveland and really tried to show us what it was like to win a championship, and it was hard for him, and sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world.
"I felt like the best person to call was [LeBron] because he's been in this situation," Irving said. "He's been there with me. I've been the young guy being the 22-year-old kid, wanting everything right now, coming off an All-Star year. ... And now I've got to adjust my game to this guy?"
📹 Kyrie explains why he called LeBron James after finally understood what being a leader is all about pic.twitter.com/oZsXKIMeSq- Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) January 17, 2019
Irving let his game do the talking today, leading the Celtics to an impressive 117-108 win over the Toronto Raptors, finishing with 27 points, a career-high 18 assists and five rebounds, knocking down this CLUTCH triple down the stretch.
Kyrie = CLUTCH #CUsRise pic.twitter.com/mFpPh7lhTJ- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) January 17, 2019
Irving led by example at the TD Garden when it mattered most, scoring or assisting on 24 of the Celtics' 30 points in the fourth quarter, as they closed out the game on a 17-4 run.
The five-time All-Star is averaging 22.8 points, 6.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds, while shooting 49.1% from the field and 40% from the three-point line.
After today's win, the Celtics move to 26-18 on the season, sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference.