In 2010, LeBron James made "The Decision."
The 2010-2011 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers was a shambles, the largest historic dropoff in performance by any team in NBA history.
In the 2011 Draft, local pundits chirped that the Cavs' fortunes had changed, landing arguably the best 2 players in the NBA Draft in Kyrie Irving with the first pick and Tristan Thompson with the fourth.
In 2017, a newly returned LeBron James teamed with Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson to lead the Cavs to the NBA Championship. Then things went to crap again, real, real fast.
-From Beacon of Speech's 2017 article Professional Brats
Kyrie Irving - Age 25
Kyrie Irving has been in the NBA Finals for the last 3 years straight with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kyrie Irving helped the United States win a gold medal in the 2016 Olympics.
Kyrie Irving is in the middle of a 5 year, $95 million contract.
Kyrie Irving has the Best-Selling Basketball Sneaker on the market right now.
Somehow, someway, Kyrie Irving is unhappy. Now everyone has their own secrets and issues, but Irving's semi-public stance on why he wants to be traded? He doesn't want to be the second option on a championship caliber team. He wants his own team. Lots of professional athletes want to be traded because they're on a losing team, or aren't getting paid, or they're worried about their "brand," but the Kyrie Irving trade demand is a whole different level of this abstract concept of being "the man." Listening to people actually defend Irving, saying that professional athletes live in a different world then the rest of us, is equally maddening.
So unless he's traded to the Golden State Warriors, which isn't going to happen, he's willing to give up a supermax contract with the Cavs, go to a worse team, and potentially damage his brand, just so he can be out of the shadow of LeBron. That is the very definition of the conceited athlete.
-From Beacon of Speech's 2021 article Kyrie Irving Does Not Want to Play Basketball
In 2010, Kyrie Irving was injured during the 8th game of his Freshman Season at Duke. He did not play through his injury, he missed 3 months and waited until his toe was completely healed before returning to the court. He did not want to risk falling in the 2011 draft due to a nagging injury. His college career was 11 total games.
In 2018, from Sports Illustrated: "Celtics fans should appreciate Kyrie Irving while they can." Irving was already talking about when he wanted to retire. He was 26 at the time.
In 2019, Kyrie Irving said if there wasn't social justice, he wasn't going to play basketball.
In 2020, Kyrie Irving was injured, but he went on to say that if it meant playing in the NBA Bubble, he wasn't going to play basketball.
In 2020, 6 months after shoulder surgery, the Nets and Kyrie Irving agreed he needed more time to recover and he wasn't going to play basetball in the 2020 playoffs. (Average shoulder surgery recovery? Anywhere between 6 weeks to 6 months for the average person.)
In 2021, Over a 2 year span, Kyrie Irving had coincidentally missed multiple games against his former team, the Boston Celtics. When he finally went back to Boston, he hoped the Boston fans wouldn't be racist, or else he wasn't going to play basketball.
In 2021, Kyrie Irving said he didn't believe in the Covid Vaccine. If the NBA made him get the Covid shot, he wasn't going to play basketball.
In 2021, Kyrie Irving said if he is traded FROM the Brooklyn Nets, he was going to retire from basketball (and he wasn't going to play basketball ever again).
So back to the present day. Since 2021, did Kyrie find his elusive "happiness" with the Nets?
In 2022, Kyrie threw another temper tantrum and demanded to be traded from the Brooklyn Nets.
In 2022, just when Joe Tsai had convinced Kyrie to stay in Brookyln, Kyrie Irving was suspended for antisemitic social media posts. Kyrie dragged his feet in apologizing, and then Nike fired him. There was a groundswell for him not to be allowed to play in the NBA anymore, THEN Irving apologized.
In 2023, a week before the trade deadline, Kyrie "shocked" the league again and asked to be traded or else he wasn't going to play basketball.
And then, just yesterday, Stephen A. Smith said the Irving-Durant-Simmons Experiment with the Brooklyn Nets was the "Biggest Failure in NBA History."
I'm done here, Kendrick Perkins gets the last word.
Why in the world would I compare Kyrie Drama to LeBron Drama?
Addendum 1 day later:
Apparently those outside Cleveland want to remind me that LeBron didn't just set the template for former Cavs.