When you’re as talented as Kyrie Irving, you start to expect a certain level of treatment from an organization. Unfortunately for Irving, reportedly, he was seeing LeBron James get all of that treatment from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He didn’t like it, via ESPN.
But there were ancillary issues that bothered Irving, too, such as how James' good friend Randy Mims had a position on the Cavs' staff and traveled on the team plane while none of Irving's close friends were afforded the same opportunity. Irving chafed about how peers such as Damian Lillard and John Wall were the center of their franchises and catered to accordingly.
To some extent, this makes sense. If you desire star treatment, but don’t get to hand-pick members of the staff while LeBron does, it makes sense that might chafe. It’s also fair that, most of Irving’s accomplishments are couched with the reality that he didn’t win before LeBron returned to town, something he had very little input on.
Those criticisms of Irving’s early career are often pretty unfair, as Alonzo Gee was among the minutes leaders almost every single year prior to LeBron’s arrival. Regardless, Irving has the reputation as a player who has been carried by LeBron James, fair or not, and that’s not the same rep that carries players like Lillard or Wall who are considered more “self-made.”
The article goes onto mention that there are some fairly obvious upsides to Irving’s arrangement, before you start shedding tears for him. He’s been to three straight Finals. He hit the biggest shot in franchise history and one of the biggest shots in the history of the league. He won a title. He landed in the top five of jersey sales this year and his signature shoe is one of Nike’s biggest top sellers.
It’s certainly a complicated system, and Irving has earned some star treatment. Unfortunately for him, as long as LeBron is in Cleveland, it probably isn’t coming in the dose he wants.