Kyrie Irving Reveals Regrets in Split with LeBron James and Cavaliers: 'I Isolated Myself'

Kyrie Irving appeared on a recent episode of the I Am Athlete podcast and spoke about how his personal issues led to his departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 2: Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 2, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Photo: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty

Former Cavaliers teammates Kyrie Irving and LeBron James appeared in four straight NBA Finals together and brought the team its first championship in history. Now, Irving says, he and James could have won more titles if he hadn't requested a trade in the summer of 2017.

During a recent interview with the I Am Athlete podcast, Irving opened up about his departure from the Cavs five years ago despite being championship contenders.

"If I was in the same maturity line and understanding of who I am [now], and I look back, we definitely, definitely would've won more championships," 30-year-old Irving, who now plays alongside Kevin Durant on the Brooklyn Nets, said in the episode.

"Because there would've been a better man-to-man understanding [with LeBron] about what I'm going through," he added. "I didn't know how to share my emotions. I didn't know how to do that. So instead of sharing, I isolated myself."

Both James and Irving were part of the most memorable moments in league history when they won an NBA title in 2016 after being down 3-1 against the Golden State Warriors. But just a year later, Irving made his trade request from the Cavaliers, leading to speculation it was caused by a rift between himself and James.

Irving said on the podcast that he regretted not having better communication with 37-year-old James during his split from the team.

"We didn't talk during that time," Irving said. "When I look back on what I was going through at that time, I wish I did [talk to LeBron], because it would've been a good understanding of what the future will hold for both of us and we know how much power we both had together."

"Me and him in the league together running Cleveland, and then being able to put a better team together every single year would've definitely been worth it," he added.

Since leaving Cleveland, Irving has played for the Boston Celtics and the Nets but has not yet returned to the NBA Finals.

James, meanwhile, joined the Los Angeles Lakers and won his fourth NBA title in 2020.

Both James and Irving appear to be on good terms in recent years — in 2019, Irving even admitted to calling James to apologize for his behavior during their time together in Cleveland.

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And after being asked on Monday night to choose who to play alongside him in a hypothetical 2-on-2 match against Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, James listed Irving as someone he would consider.

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