Imagine being the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft to one of the worst teams in the NBA. You immediately become the star of the franchise due to the lack of talent around you. The fans love and praise you for your hard work and have high hopes you will be one of the league’s best someday.
Imagine suffering through disappointing season after disappointing season. Missing the playoffs is the norm. Losing is an everyday occurrence and any win is celebrated like a Finals victory. You give it your all but it is just not enough.
Imagine one offseason your team finally does something about it. The league’s best player decides to come back home in hopes of bringing a title to his city. Following that signing, the team makes a trade for one of the best forwards in the game. Your team is now a big 3 and you guys are going to be going places. Anything short of the Finals would now be a disappointment.
Imagine making the Finals three straight years. You get to the first one only to get injured in the first game and are forced to watch your team lose from the bench.
Then the next year you are back healthy and ready to go. You hit the go-ahead shot in Game 7 over the league’s first unanimous MVP to defeat the greatest regular season team in history.
Then the next year you return, but your opponent is back with the addition of one of the league’s top two players. You flat-out dominate on the offensive end, but they are invincible and take back the title.
Imagine having little enough competition in your conference that a Finals appearance is pretty much guaranteed for a fourth straight season. You are in the prime of your career and have played in more Finals than some of the league’s great point guards before you like Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and John Stockton. What could be better?
Apparently playing in the Finals alongside the league’s best player is no longer enough for Kyrie Irving. From what reports are saying, he would rather throw all that away so he can be the best player on a team that has no shot at going to the Finals at all and maybe not even the playoffs.
Ego kills great teams
Kyrie’s ego has gotten too big. Ego is one of the biggest enemies known to successful teams. Being unwilling to accept your role on the team and getting selfish not only hurts your team, but yourself as well.
Kyrie Irving, are you sure you want to throw away the once-in-a-lifetime situation you are in right now just so you can be the guy to score the most points? Are you satisfied with one title and three appearances? Are you sure that you no longer want your game to be elevated by one of the greatest of all time? I hope you know what you are doing.
Some of the top teams in today’s game have little to no ego issues at all. Look at the San Antonio Spurs. I bet you can’t tell me the last time that team missed the playoffs. Of course part of the reason for that is because the Spurs always have great players. They have had the likes of David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and the list goes on.
When you watch the Spurs play, there really is not any ego involved. They play as a team. As stated before, the Spurs always have multiple great players on their team. However, none of them are concerned about who gets the most spotlight. Those guys play to win and also as a team. They have stuck together for so long because they have learned to play with each other and coexist.
Look at the Golden State Warriors. That is a team that like the Spurs, was mostly built through the draft. They share the ball well. It is a different guy each night that stands out.
After Kevin Durant signed, a lot of analysts and fans thought ego might get in the way of Golden State’s success. Surely Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green wouldn’t be able to play alongside each other and be okay with not being the main focus right? So far ego has not been a problem in Golden State. They are focused on one thing: winning.
The Cavs have been the opposite. There seems to be drama in Cleveland more so than the other top contenders. Irving is just the latest of it all. Owner Dan Gilbert does not seem to have the competitive drive that the rest of the NBA contenders do.
Cleveland won the title in 2016 in an upset over Golden State. Surely you’d think the team would be hungry for more right? If they are, they really aren’t acting like it.
Gilbert let general manager David Griffin go. He failed to make a trade for Paul George or Jimmy Butler and will most likely fail at a trade for Carmelo Anthony. They have done little to make the team better. Jeff Green and Jose Calderon are not going to help the Cavs beat Golden State.
Is Kyrie done in Cleveland?
Now with Irving requesting a trade, could this be the end for Cleveland? Maybe not. Kobe Bryant also requested a trade back when he was playing. Sometimes players get frustrated. Irving’s frustration may just blow over.
But then again, Kobe was in a completely different situation than Irving. He was the top player on his team and ever since Shaquille O’Neal left L.A. after not getting along with Bryant, the team struggled. Kobe had Smush Parker and Kwame Brown helping him out and it was not working. He wanted to go to a winning situation.
Irving already is in one. Not many players would want to leave a team who has made the Finals three straight years to go to a team that won’t.
Only time will tell if the Cavs can get it together and if Kyrie Irving can coexist with LeBron James in Cleveland. If he ends up following through with this trade request, he may never play in the Finals again. He must be pretty confident that he can lead a team. But with the situation and talent that surrounds the NBA, Irving is going to have a very difficult time doing that.
Featured image by Jason Miller/Getty Images
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