Aside from celebrating with his teammates after winning Game 7 against the Warriors, Cavs guard Kyrie Irving also shared that moment with one Kobe Bryant.
After the game, Irving says he FaceTimed Bryant immediately after according to an interview Irving did with thepostgame.com.
"I actually FaceTimed Kobe after the game as soon as I got in the locker room," Irving says. "Other than seeing my dad and my sister right after we won, FaceTiming him was just a great thing, knowing how he has won five and I just won my first. Then realizing how hard it is just to win one, my respect for him is already high, but it went to another level knowing that he's got five of them. I'm trying to get a second one."
Irving credits Phil Handy, who was also on the FaceTime, for sparking his relationship with Bryant. Handy serves as Cavs Director of Player Development/Assistant Coach, a position he has held since 2013, previously serving as Lakers Director of Player Development.
"[Bryant] was telling me congrats," Irving says of the FaceTime. "I had been speaking to him throughout the entire playoffs and during the season. During the Finals, we didn't really talk as much, because for me, I wanted to experience it full on, and if I needed his help, I would reach out to him. He would send me some texts here and there, but mainly he kind of let me be, and let me grow into my own space."
Irving and Bryant seemed to have bonded since Irving first challenged Kobe when he challenged him to a 1 vs. 1 game prior to the 2012 Olympics. At the time, Irving was headed into the second year in the league and Bryant was just two years removed from his last title win.
Irving, despite being much younger, is a testament to the impact Kobe has had a generation of NBA players and it’s cool that Irving has a relationship with not one but two all-time greats.