Not every player wants to compete for titles – LeBron appears to aim dig at Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James appeared to question former team-mate Kyrie Irving and his hunger to compete for NBA championships.
With the Cavs facing a series sweep in the NBA Finals after going down 3-0 to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, James had plenty to say on the eve of Friday's make-or-break game-four showdown in Cleveland.
First, three-time NBA champion James said he wished Dwyane Wade – who was dealt to the Miami Heat – was still part of the Cavaliers' roster right now because Cleveland need playmakers to compete against the Warriors.
And then James went off on a long story about how he came to Cleveland to play with Irving and turn him into a winner before the latter left for Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics before the start of the season.
"I knew Kyrie, having the talent, I wanted to try to build his mind up to fast track his mind because I felt like in order to win you've got to have talent, but you've got to be cerebral too," the 33-year-old said.
"Listen, we're all NBA players. Everybody knows how to put the ball in the hoop, but who can think throughout the course of the game?"
James continued: "We come back here and we get the minds and we build a championship team. And then Golden State because of Steph's [Curry] injuries early on in his career and his contract situation, and then them drafting Draymond [Green] and drafting Klay [Thompson] and them being under the contracts they were in, allowed them to go out and get KD [Kevin Durant].
"So they win a championship. Then we play them and we come back from 3-1 and we beat them. But that was the regular season — probably the best team I ever played against. They go 73-9, and then you add one of the best players that the NBA has ever seen.
"How do you put together a group of talent but also a group of minds to be able to compete with Golden State, to be able to compete for a championship?
"That's what GMs [general managers] and presidents and certain players — it's not every player. Every player does not want to — sad to say, but every player doesn't want to compete for a championship and be in a position where every possession is pressure."