Kyrie Irving: I felt empty after winning 2016 championship with Cavaliers


Kyrie Irving expressed regret about requesting a trade from the Cavaliers rather than staying to compete for more championships.

So why did Irving force his way from Cleveland in 2017, only one year after helping the Cavs win a title?

Irving on “I Am Athlete”:

It was like climbing up one of the tallest mountains in the world, winning a championship. And when I got up there, and you realize that all the accolades and all the achievements, yeah, it feels good, it feels great to add that to the career. But I felt empty – after I done travelled, after I done partied, after I done spent a bunch of money, after I done asked for more deals, after. We all been through it. So, feeling on top of that mountain, man, after a while, I just felt like I didn’t really know who I was. I didn’t know what my future was going to be.

Again, we go back to climbing that mountain. And when I was going through some of my trials and learning about who I was, it was a lot harder to reconnect to everybody again, because I had a lot of questions about the world. What was my place in the world? Not what was my place in the basketball realm?

When I asked for the trade, I’m like, “Look, I’d rather go experience other things in the league before I start really settling down.”

I threw all my chips in. I said, “Look, I’m ready to go experience something new. I’m young.”

It was, “Let me go experience the league. Let me go experience what my trade value is. Let me go see how many other teams want me.”

Not as fulfilled as expected by a championship, trying to find himself while an NBA star, isolating himself – Irving sounds a lot like Kevin Durant.

No wonder Irving and Durant formed such a deep bond .The Nets teammates have talked about how they understand each other in ways others can’t. It’s issues like these.

Irving has previously touched on not feeling invested in the Cavaliers’ 2016 title. He distanced himself from the team afterward then eventually got his desired trade to the Celtics.

Of course, Irving didn’t find what he was looking for with Boston. He doesn’t appear overly happy in Brooklyn, either. At some point, Irving might realize he can’t escape his problems just by switching teams.

But this interview was a fascinating look back on Irving’s Cleveland exit, especially because he once said he’d never pinpoint his reasoning. With former NFL players Brandon Marshall, Pacman Jones and Shady McCoy, Irving was more more openly introspective and coherent than usual. I suggest watching the above video in full if you’re interested in better understanding Irving, one of the NBA’s most-difficult-to-read stars.