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LeBron James has barely been able to bask in the glow of winning his fourth championship, his first as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, as he prepares for the 2020-21 season. Taking a break from practice, the Akron, Ohio superstar revealed that former teammate Kyrie Irving‘s comments cut deep, adding to the tension between the basketball savants.

James, 35, was a guest on former teammates Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, and journalist Allie Clifton’s Road Trippin’ podcast covering a wide range of topics which of course included the championships, playing in the bubble, and the trash talk of their rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers.

While Jefferson and Frye took slight turns roasting their old friend, the elephant of the room had to be addressed. What did King James think of Irving’s obvious jab at questioning his clutch nature? The simple answer is that James obviously felt a bit blindsided by the comments Irving made on his Brooklyn Nets teammate Kevin Durant’s podcast.

Back in October as a guest on The Etc with Kevin Durant, Irving essentially said that playing with KD feels like the first time he feels confident in giving up a clutch shot that he normally bets on himself to take, dismissing all of James’ greatness at that moment. James’ reaction appeared to be honest, considering he saw things another way.

“I was a little like, ‘Damn.’ Once I got the whole transcript, I was like, ‘Damn,'” James said in response after taking in the all of Irving’s words. “I wasn’t like, ‘Oh, you trippin’. I’ve hit game-winning shots my whole life.’ I was not like that. I was like, ‘Damn.’ Because, I played with Kyrie for three seasons. The whole time when I was there, I only wanted to see him be a MVP of our league. I only cared about his success. And it just didn’t align. It just didn’t align. And we were able to win a championship. That’s the craziest thing. We were still able to win a championship, and we could never align. But I only cared about his well-being, both on and off the floor.”

James concluded his comments by saying “it kind of hurt me a little bit,” showing some vulnerability in that moment. As it stands, the relationship’s icy nature was largely unknown to the public until Irving was traded away to the Boston Celtics, eager to get from under James’ shadow and become his own man. The interesting part is that most NBA observers both experts and fans alike praise James for his ability to both be a leader and make his teammates greater so it remains a mystery why this superstar duo couldn’t gel.

With LeBron James’ comments out there in the universe, fans on Twitter have sparked a debate via #NBATwitter regarding the greatness of both men with one player having a clear advantage in some eyes while others put their support behind another.

We’ve got those reactions below.

Also, check out the first part of the Road Trippin’ podcast visit from LeBron James below.

Photo: Getty