Kyrie Irving Unfollows LeBron James On Instagram, Heightens Offseason Drama
Kyrie Irving took his pettiness to a new level.
You’ve probably seen the clip. It’s the one in which LeBron James is shouting at Kyrie Irving on the bench in an overtime timeout while forcefully poking the shoulder of the point guard seated two chairs away. Instead of facing James, Irving looks straight ahead and refuses to make eye contact. James gives him an earful.
As James seems to wrap up his speech to the unengaged audience of one, Irving looks the other way and smirks.
Irving was no child, even though he was seemingly treated like one in that moment. The scene took place in April 2016 against the Atlanta Hawks. Irving was a No. 1 overall pick, a three-time All-Star and recently the starting point guard for a Team USA squad that won gold at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. To many, he was Uncle Drew. At 22, Nike had already given him his own signature shoe line.
But the context surrounding that moment between Irving and James seems to speak volumes. It wasn’t Irving’s best moment, in the final seconds of a heated overtime regular-season game against the Hawks with the score 105-104 in favor of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jeff Teague had been lighting Irving up, forcing Tristan Thompson to switch to Teague in pick-and-rolls to rescue the Cleveland point guard. About a minute before that clip, Irving went one-on-one and got blocked by Kent Bazemore and then got blown by again defensively — only to have James soar from the weak side and swat Teague’s shot out of bounds. James ran the offense the next three possessions, while Irving mostly hunched over by the half-court line with his hands on his knees. The sequence screamed that this was James’ team, everyone else step aside.