CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from the Thursday, May 12, 2022 episode of The Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show.
It's been nearly five years since Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. And the 7-time NBA All-Star is now expressing remorse over how he handled his exit from Cleveland, which came when the Cavs granted his request by trading him to the Boston Celtics in August of 2017.
Appearing on an episode of "I Am Athlete," Irving detailed his messy departure from Cleveland. And in doing so, the No. 1 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft admitted that he wishes he would have taken a different approach to his time with the Cavs -- something he says he believes would have resulted in the franchise winning more than one championship.
"If I was in the same maturity line and understanding of who I am, and I look back, we definitely, definitely would’ve won more championships," Irving said. "Because there would’ve been a better man-to-man understanding about what I’m going through. I didn’t know how to share my emotions."
Irving also discussed his relationship with his former Cavs teammate, LeBron James. While Cleveland's co-stars never feuded publicly, their icy relationship was often cited as one of the biggest reasons why Irving had requested a trade.
"We didn’t talk during that time," Irving said of himself and James. "When I look back on what I was going through at that time, I wish I did. 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 have definitely been worth it. But for me, I threw all my chips in."
Instead, Irving went on to spend two seasons with the Celtics before signing as a free agent with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. James, meanwhile, spent one more season in Cleveland before leaving to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018.
You can watch Irving's full appearance on "I Am Athlete" below: