Kyrie Irving hugged LeBron James, Kevin Love, and the rest of his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates. He bonded with coach Tyronn Lue. He got sprayed with champagne and celebrated like a champ in the wake of Cleveland winning its first NBA title.
Then, from the locker room, Irving FaceTimed Kobe Bryant.
“I actually FaceTimed Kobe after the game as soon as I got in the locker room,” Irving says. “Other than seeing my dad and my sister right after we won, FaceTiming him was just a great thing, knowing how he has won five and I just won my first. Then realizing how hard it is just to win one, my respect for him is already high, but it went to another level knowing that he’s got five of them. I’m trying to get a second one…
“[Bryant] was telling me congrats,” Irving says of the FaceTime. “I had been speaking to him throughout the entire playoffs and during the season. During the Finals, we didn’t really talk as much, because for me, I wanted to experience it full on, and if I needed his help, I would reach out to him. He would send me some texts here and there, but mainly he kind of let me be, and let me grow into my own space.”
Kobe is going to become the guru for guys seeking titles and wanting advice on overcoming the obstacles in the way of rings. A mentor role he will enjoy.
And clearly, what Kobe told Kyrie had a real impact. Kyrie had a pretty nice end to the Finals.