Warning: Story contains coarse language
"I was a little like, 'damn,'" James said on the "Road Trippin'" podcast Monday. "Once I got the whole transcript, I was like, 'damn.' I wasn't like, 'oh, you trippin', I've hit game-winning shots my whole life.' I was not like that. I was like, 'damn.'
"I played with Kyrie for three seasons. The whole time when I was there, I only wanted to see him be a MVP of our league. I only cared about his success. And it just didn't align. It just didn't align," James said. "And we were able to win a championship. That's the craziest thing. We were still able to win a championship, and we could never align. But I only cared about his well-being, both on and off the floor. And it kind of hurt me a little bit."
James played alongside Irving with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014 to 2017, winning a championship together in 2016. Irving later demanded a trade in part to get out from under James' shadow.
Irving has since joined the Nets, and in October he inferred that Kevin Durant is the first equally clutch player he's ever called a teammate.
"One thing I've always been comfortable with, I felt like I was the best option on every team I played for down the stretch," Irving told Durant on his podcast at the time. "This is the first time in my career I've looked down and be like, 'That motherf----- can make that shot too.' And he'll probably do it a lot easier."
Irving and Durant have yet to play a game together due to injuries last season.
The veteran's comments came as the Los Angeles Lakers were playing in the NBA Finals in October. James chalked it up to another attempted distraction.
"It's always been something that, when I've been in a Finals, that comes out to try to distract me from my mission," James said. "So I was already ready for it.
"... When I was seeing that and I read it, and then I got the full transcript and I heard it, I was like, 'man, f---.' I was like, 'are you f------ kidding me?' I was like, 'God damn.'"