In light of his Saturday night matchup with his former teammate LeBron James, Kyrie came to his defense in an interview with Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The Boston star admitted that he was empathetic towards James, citing the criticism was unfair due to the time James missed with a groin injury.
“You’re coming to a team like that and you have a lot of the responsibility, and you come back in the middle of the regular season, it’s hard because now other teams are gearing up for the playoffs, that next level of play,” Irving said to The Athletic.
LeBron has had to carry the load for years now, it is nothing new to him. But coming off a significant groin injury at 34-years-old, there’s only so much his body can take. Still, getting through the season in one piece isn’t an accomplishment for LeBron. Irving noted that success for him is defined by Championships.
“Whenever you don’t get a chance to do that, and you’ve been doing it for the last, what, 10 years, getting to the playoffs? I feel for him.”
As the main man on a high-market team of his own, Irving has a better understanding than most of what LeBron has to deal with. Even despite the injuries, the underwhelming talent level built around him, and his move to a crowded Western Conference, LeBron isn’t getting any slack. People have set the bar so high for him, anything short of perfection will be drawn out.
This is the way things are for the best player in the world. Hopefully next year, things will be a little bit easier.