There haven’t been many breakups between a team and a player in the NBA that were as messy as the split between Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving’s career followed a strange path in Cleveland, as he went from anointed savior of the franchise, to a talented scorer who couldn’t lead the team to the postseason, to a dynamite-but-flawed second banana with the best player on earth, to an outcast after a trade request blindsided everyone in the franchise.
Now, Irving has the position on a team that he so desperately craved: He is the undisputed man in Boston, the superstar who has a team built around him, and the center of attention for a team that could repeat as the squad with the conference’s best record this year. It was a lengthy process that led to his eventual trade to Beantown, one that was full of twists and turns that made it seem like Irving’s relationship with the franchise became really acrimonious towards the end.
The craziest part was how this breakup seemed to play out on social media, especially with regard to LeBron James. There was an unfollowing on Instagram. There were multiple posts on the web that seemed like shots were being lobbed. It was all incredibly silly.