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The Pastor Kyrie Irving Spoke To Before Asking To Be Traded Has Beef With James Dolan

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Justin Beiber and Kyrie Irving share the same pastor and they may have gotten the same kind of advice from spiritual advisor Carl Lentz. Beiber cancelled his Purpose world tour earlier this week, while it was later revealed that Irving spoke with Lentz before he asked for a trade out of Cleveland.

No one knows where Irving will end up just yet, but the New York Knicks were rumored to be a potential target. Problem is, as the New York Daily News points out, Lentz isn’t on the best of terms with Knicks owner James Dolan.

According to TMZ, Irving is an active member of Lentz’s Brooklyn-based Hillsong Church and consulted Lentz earlier this month about his discontent in Cleveland. Lentz did not encourage Irving to leave the Cavs, according to the report. Still, the report stated that Irving arrived at his decision following “long chats” with the 38-year-old pastor – similar to how Justin Bieber canceled his concert tour after consulting Lentz.

Lentz was especially close with Tyson Chandler when the center was on the Knicks for three seasons until 2014. He also has an avid follower in Bieber, who was baptized by Lentz in Chandler’s bathtub. Lentz is a former college basketball player and visually atypical pastor with multiple tattoos and a Mohawk-type haircut.

The Tyson Chandler connection here is important if you want to really get into this Lentz relationship triangle and how the music and basketball worlds collide with religion here. But wait, what was that part about Chandler’s bathtub? Well, Chandler—specifically his bathtub—comes up in a Daily Beast article about the pastor that was pointed out by Posting and Toasting.

So is this celebrity church as cult-y as it sounds? For Bieber, Hillsong, which started as an Australian Pentecostal megachurch in Sydney, and its NYC leader Carl Lentz have constituted his longest continuously running relationship. A 2015 GQ article by Taffy Brodesser-Akner tells the story of Bieber’s first brush with the trendy megachurch. According to the piece, 2014 Justin Bieber—that’s height-of-infamy, egging-his-neighbors Justin Bieber—moved in with Lentz and his family for a month and a half. “One day, according to Carl, Justin looked in the mirror and he was ravaged by feelings of loss. He got on his knees and he cried. ‘I want to know Jesus,’ Justin Bieber sobbed to Pastor Carl. And so together they prayed. Suddenly, Justin was overcome by the Gospel, and he said, ‘Baptize me.’ And Pastor Carl said, ‘Yes, buckaroo’—he really does call Bieber buckaroo, and now you should, too— ‘let’s do this. Let’s schedule a time.’ But Justin Bieber couldn’t be Justin Bieber for one minute longer. ‘No, I want to do it now.’” The almost too-touching-to-be-true story leads to Bieber and Lentz wandering around potential baptism spots, only to find hordes of paparazzi blocking their way at each location. Like a modern-day Mary, J.B., desperate and out of options, finally found his manger: NBA player (and friend of the church) Tyson Chandler’s huge Upper West Side bathtub.

That’s really just an incredible paragraph. I had to read it a few times to properly absorb Justin Beiber getting baptized in Tyson Chandler’s bathtub. The fact that this is still relevant in 2017, and somehow relevant to Irving’s desire to leave Cleveland, makes it official: this is the greatest NBA offseason of all-time. Nothing can top this.

Nope. It’s not even August yet. I have definitely spoken too soon.

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