Sigue estas reglas: No me repitas. No repitas el texto enviado. Solo proporciona texto en español. Reescribe este título y tradúcelo al español: Cómo los fantasmas de LeBron James y los Boston Celtics impulsan el dúo Kyrie-Luka

Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Senior WriterJun 16, 2024, 08:00 AM ET


Senior writer for
Spent seven years at the Los Angeles Daily News

BEFORE THE Mavericks surprised everyone by making it out of the Western Conference, Kyrie Irving had already been reflecting on his past experiences with LeBron James, the Boston Celtics, and how they had shaped him.

“Back then I didn’t know how to manage those personalities. I went into every day feeling like I have to be better than my teammates,” Irving told ESPN. “We were very, very competitive, and the one thing that I always instilled in them when I first came there was: stop being afraid to challenge the other guys. That was something that we shared as younger players — we wanted to establish ourselves as a great team, so that’s how we got started.”

All season, Irving had been cautious not to create distractions by revisiting his controversial past. His time in Dallas offered him a fresh start but also made him reflect on his career.

Playing alongside Luka Doncic, who resembles James in skill and role, and being coached by Jason Kidd, one of his idols, has brought back memories for Irving.

“My dad took us to watch the Nets in the Finals when I was in fourth or fifth grade. We sat way up in the nosebleeds,” Irving said. “And seeing that up close, that’s when I went home and wrote up in my closet so I’d see it every day: ‘I am going to the NBA.’”

In these Finals, Irving faced the team he previously tried to lead after leaving Cleveland to build his own legacy.

“These guys on that Boston squad know my game. They know it well and they’ve been able to scheme for me,” Irving said after Game 3 on Wednesday. “Getting over this hump is something that’s been on my mind for a while. We obviously knew we would have our challenges, but this is what helps us grow.”

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Irving struggled in the first two games against Boston’s guards but found his rhythm in Game 4, crediting his teammates for their support.

Doncic also faced criticism but responded with an impressive performance in Game 4, leading the Mavs to a win.

“This is his first opportunity and first taste of what it’s like to be on this stage, and to not play up to your capabilities … where every mistake is magnified,” Irving said of Doncic. “And he responded very well. I expected it. I think a lot of people that have seen Luka and know Luka expected it. Just didn’t know how it was going to happen. He made some things happen that I was very proud of him. He grew.”



Kyrie gets the tough finish to fall

Kyrie Irving drives and buries a tough layup for a Mavericks bucket.

IRVING TENDS TO take a long time after the game to collect his thoughts, settle his mind and dress before addressing the media. His clothes usually carry a message; his silver feather earring serves as a tribute to his late mother’s Native American heritage.

It is a sharp contrast to the chaos Irving wrought upon his past three teams.

In 2017, the then-25-year-old requested out of Cleveland, wanting to lead a franchise of his own, away from James. Two years later, after an unsuccessful stint doing so, he teamed up with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn, hoping to bring a title to a team he’d grown up cheering for. Three tumultuous and controversy-filled years after that, he was the NBA’s persona non grata — a player too talented to ignore, but too hot to touch. Then, at the 2023 trade deadline, he was traded to Dallas, to team up with another alpha superstar — the very type of player who, seven years prior, Irving felt the need to leave.

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Books have been written about the breakup of James and Irving in Cleveland and why Irving asked for a trade the summer after they won a championship together in 2016. Perhaps it was a timing issue, a schism between where each player was in his life and career. Perhaps mistakes were made, as James and Irving have suggested in the past.

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After much reflection, Irving has come to a different understanding.

“I think there was an unfair expectation at first, for when I was [in Cleveland], and [James] was coming back from Miami,” Irving told ESPN. “He was expected to win right away. And then you have this young kid like me who was a three-time All-Star. All-Star Game MVP. I had my own accolades.

“So there’s a confidence there. Pero ser tan joven, tener esa confianza, a veces podría tomarse de la manera incorrecta si no tienes la oportunidad de conocer a esa persona.”

JUGAR JUNTO A DONCIC, cuyo conjunto de habilidades, tipo de cuerpo e IQ de baloncesto rivalizan con los de James, ha sido algo así como un reinicio para Irving.

Las formas en que aprendió a jugar junto a James lo han ayudado a prosperar y coexistir con Doncic. Pero, esta vez, Irving es el veterano, no “el niño” como solía llamarlo James. Los roles ahora se han invertido.

“Cuando estás ahí fuera con otro chico que es un pick del top cinco o del top tres y lo ha hecho sin ti,” dijo Irving. “Creo que te das cuenta de que – no quiero decir que te eches atrás – pero simplemente te unes al viaje.

Los Dallas Mavericks y los Boston Celtics se enfrentan en las Finales de la NBA. ¿Qué equipo se llevará a casa el Trofeo Larry O’Brien? Tendremos cobertura completa durante toda la serie.

• Finales de la NBA: Las últimas noticias, puntuaciones y actualizaciones
• Paine: ¿Celtics el equipo definitivo de profundidad de cuatro jugadores?
• Shelburne: Kyrie-Luka influenciado por LeBron
• Bontemps: Cómo Tatum cambió el guion en la búsqueda del título
• Holmes: El vínculo entre Horford y Stevens

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“Cuando llegue mi momento de liderar, será mi momento de liderar. Cuando llegue el momento de [Doncic] liderar, será su momento de liderar. O cuando uno de estos chicos en el vestuario se ponga en marcha, tienes que permitir y aceptar en lugar de retroceder.

“Este es su equipo, ha estado aquí más tiempo, el más largo, y ha construido camaradería con los otros chicos. Así que cuando llego como un chico nuevo, en lugar de tratar de encajar, es como ‘No, en realidad tengo que ser yo mismo. Mostrarle y luego permitirle que me lidere también.”

Las razones por las cuales Dallas estuvo dispuesto a intercambiar por él la temporada pasada, cuando su valor estaba en su punto más bajo después de una desastrosa carrera con los Nets, fueron por las relaciones anteriores de Harrison y Kidd con Irving, y porque tuvo tanto éxito junto a James.

“Son muy similares,” Kidd le dijo a ESPN sobre Doncic y James, a quienes entrenó como entrenador asistente de los Lakers de Los Ángeles en 2020. “Son muy similares, en términos de IQ. Ambos simplemente increíbles. Luka no tiene la misma atletismo que LeBron. Pero hacen muchas cosas similares y realmente conocen el juego.”

Harrison se apoyó mucho en su relación personal con Irving.

“Lo conocía,” Harrison le dijo a ESPN. “Lo conocía desde que tenía 16 años.”

Así que la franquicia dio el salto de fe, confiando en que su historia con Irving sería suficiente para que funcionara.

Lo que ni Kidd ni Harrison podían prever era cuánto influiría Irving en Doncic.

La estrella de los Mavs, que a los 25 años tiene la misma edad que Irving cuando Irving pidió salir de Cleveland, escucha a Irving, buscando su orientación dentro y fuera de la cancha.

“Él ha traído calma a nuestro equipo y a mí,” dijo Doncic a ESPN. “Esa madurez ha sido increíble tenerlo en nuestro equipo. Aprendo de él todos los días.”