Kyrie Irving said earlier this week before his return to Cleveland that he wasn’t about to detail the reasons behind his request for a trade that sent him to the Celtics.
A story from Cavaliers beat writer Jason Lloyd on TheAthletic.com suggests that the roots of the feud may stem from an incident between Irving’s father, Drederick, and one of LeBron James’ lifelong friends, who works for the Cavs.
Drederick Irving played basketball at Boston University, was at one time the school’s all-time leading scorer and is in BU’s athletic hall of fame. Irving cited his father’s influence at his introductory Celtics press conference and now wears the same No. 11 his father did with the Terriers.
From Lloyd’s story:
One day during the three years LeBron James and Kyrie Irving spent as teammates, Drederick Irving was exiting the Cavs’ locker room when Randy Mims was entering. Mims, one of James’ lifelong friends and an official Cavs employee, reached out his hand to slap Drederick five. But Dred, Irving’s father, pulled his own arm back and refused the gesture.
When James later asked Irving about the incident and if there was something wrong, Irving said his father believed they shouldn’t be “fraternizing with the enemy.” Three sources with knowledge of the exchange independently confirmed it to The Athletic, revealing just a glimmer of light into a fractured relationship that both men hid well in their time together.
An ESPN.com story after the trade chronicled some of the same friction, noting it was one of several factors leading to Irving's split from the Cavs:
But there were ancillary issues that bothered Irving, too, such as how James’ good friend Randy Mims had a position on the Cavs’ staff and traveled on the team plane while none of Irving’s close friends were afforded the same opportunity.
Irving didn’t deny Lloyd’s account, telling the Athletic: “I could care less. You can write it. It’s on you, kid. It’s your validity, baby. It’s just my dad. It’s not me.”