When Kyrie Irving Went Off on Reporter Asking if LeBron James Was a Father Figure to Him: “I Have One Father”

Kyrie Irving was clearly irked when a reporter asked him if LeBron James was a ‘father-figure’ to him. Find out what Irving had to say in response.

Published on Jul 05, 2024  |  11:34 AM IST |  59.2K
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When Kyrie Irving Was Baffled by a Reporter Asking if LeBron James Is His Father Figure

The LeBron James-Kyrie Irving partnership is undoubtedly, one of the greatest duos in NBA history. They led the Cleveland Cavaliers to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances, including a memorable victory over the Golden State Warriors in 2016. 

At the time, LeBron was 30, and Kyrie was 23. Despite LeBron's much longer tenure in the NBA, their age difference isn't significant, at all.

Yet, this didn't prevent a reporter from asking Irving if LeBron played a "parental role" on the Cavaliers. The idea of James being a father figure to Irving often surfaced in the media. Given Kyrie's close bond with his own father, there's a very good chance that this idea likely irritated him to no end.

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Kyrie Irving was shocked at being asked if LeBron James was a 'father' to him

In 2015, Kyrie faced an awkward question about his relationship with LeBron and whether LeBron acted as a father figure for him and the team.

The reporter prefaced her question by mentioning how Tristan Thompson had praised LeBron as a great father to his kids. She then asked Irving if LeBron's parenting skills extended to the Cavaliers. 

After expressing confusion and clarifying that he only has one father, he told her that LeBron did not play a "parental role" with the team. Instead, he described LeBron as a great "influence," not a father figure.


Kyrie, looking slightly confused, replied, that while he wasn’t sure about the parental role, and he didn’t know how to answer the question, he (LeBron James) has been a great leader for them. 

“I have one father, it’s my dad Drederick Irving. But for us, in terms of learning the nuances of the game and how to win, how to carry ourselves on and off the court, he’s been a really great influence in that role,” said Irving.

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The Interviewer's question made Kyrie Irving uncomfortable

This question was uncomfortable for two main reasons:

  • At the time, LeBron was 30, and Kyrie was 23. Regardless of LeBron's achievements or experience, a seven-year age gap doesn't justify seeing someone as a father figure.
  • Kyrie and his father share a very close relationship. After his mother died when he was four, his father raised him alone.

So, comparing that bond to one with a teammate who occasionally calls plays and passes the ball isn't quite appropriate.

To be fair, LeBron's comments earlier in the season, when the Cavaliers were struggling, suggested he saw himself as a father figure.

With a long break between the Cavs’ series-clinching win over the Bulls and Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Hawks, the talking points, and the questions reporters could ask, ran dry. But Irving’s response to the “LeBron as a Father Figure” question made his feelings on the matter crystal clear.

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About The Author

Natasha Bose, a master's graduate in English Literature from Indira Gandhi National Open University, is a Kolkata-based writer



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