By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving recently called former teammate LeBron James to apologize for his actions in handling criticism from James, which ultimately led to his exiting Cleveland and breaking the union that led the Cavaliers to their one and only world championship in 2016.
For many observers, the LeBron-Kyrie union, once thought to be a footnote to the careers of two likely future hall of famers, has a chance to be resurrected because of this this move performed by Irving. For many, Irving’s public recantation opens the door to believe whether Kyrie could consider leaving the Celtics as a free agent this coming summer.
Should Irving make himself a free agent — and go back on another public statement he made to the Boston faithful prior to this season — he’d have his pick of tempting franchises to join and the Lakers, with the newly understood LeBron, should be right at the top of Kyrie’s list.
One of the most important components of being a leader is understanding your own faults. If you are a person of religious faith, especially Christianity, you are very familiar with the parable of the prodigal son, where a young man left his family with his inheritance at an early age to live on his own, spent everything he had and ultimately lived the lowest of lives before coming to the realization that he should’ve been patient and stayed home.
Irving may not be living in the lowest of situations, but he can relate to the prodigal son, wanting everything he earned at a young age before he was ready to receive it, and at times, it is costing him frustration and maybe even making him think of possibly leaving Boston once the season is over. There is a valid case for the Celtics to really consider not bringing him back.
The Celtics have shown that they can win without Irving, compiling a 27-17 record, with a 20-3 home record, over the past two years when he is not in the lineup up through early this month. However, the reason for the team’s up and down current season is contributed to the fact of bringing back both Gordon Hayward and Irving after the two established contributors spent most of last season on the bench.
Working the veteran pair back into a lineup where still developing players like Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum were trying to build off career years in 2018 has been a challenge to say the least and not to mention this young core worked itself to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Finals in its first playoff run together.
Kyrie Irving’s Relationship With LeBron Has Come Full Circle (The Ringer)
The Celtics have a plethora of young talent, but it is hard to build chemistry on the court with already limited playing time being distributed even more preciously around now that their two main stars are back.
For Irving, this is a challenge that he should want to take on long-term, but like the parable of the prodigal son, it is not easy handling a responsibility that he himself may not be ready to receive. So what if he comes to the realization that being the face of the legendary Boston franchise is not what he really wants for himself? He should at least consider coming to L.A. to once again play alongside the King.
Another key concept of leadership is having ability to mature through your mistakes. The prodigal son ultimately realized that his idea to leave early was not the best, and he ultimately came home. For Irving to call the man he once publicly criticized and distanced himself from, to apologize to that man showed great maturity and growth from a lesson learned.
But one thing in the parable that we cannot overlook is that upon the son’s arrival back home, his father hugged him, kissed him, and accepted him back into the family with open arms, like nothing happened.
James enjoyed playing with Irving and still has love for Irving, even though he did not want Irving to leave Cleveland when he did. Remember, he wanted to hand Irving the keys to the franchise when it was time for the King to leave his hometown castle.
If Irving wanted to play with James again, I believe James would welcome him back with open arms. There are already rumors that at least one big star is coming to the Lakers next season, whether it is Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, etc. but if the Lakers fail with any of those players, why not make Plan B going after a guy that helped deliver a historical championship on one of the most historical NBA Finals runs we have ever seen?
Irving would have a chance to learn more from James and not have to worry about having the weight of a franchise on his back. It would allow him to strictly be Uncle Drew again.
If Irving wants to win championships without having the pressure of running a franchise, he might have to make a second phone call to the King around July 1 next summer and make sure to put Magic Johnson on three-way.
Joshua M. Hicks is the lead columnist of WARR