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LeBron James is one of the most skilled high-profile professional athletes when it comes to always saying the right things.
Perhaps his influence on the one guy known to not have been interested in it — at least anymore — planted a seed, anyway.
James and Kyrie Irving, teammates as Cavaliers for three seasons, including an NBA championship campaign in 2015-16, until Irving requested and granted a trade last summer, reportedly to escape the almost-limitless shadow of James, both played nice at All-Star Saturday Night in Los Angeles.
James, captain of Team LeBron, selected his former teammate for the All-Star Game. They were on the practice court together in preparation for the All-Star Game on Sunday night (8, TNT).
“If he was available I was taking him,” James said.
Irving said “it’s pretty awesome” when queried about what it’s like to be teammates with James again, and said the conversation between the two of them was “just normal.”
“Sorry, I know that sounds like not a lot, but it’s just normal.”
James said being reunited with Irving for the All-Star Game is “special.”
“Those thoughts still go into my head of how great it was to break the drought in our city, over 50-plus years,” James said. “The both of us had magical Finals runs and, so it’s always special.”
James will set an NBA record with his 14th straight All-Star start Sunday night. He is the league leader in All-Star Game points scored (314) and most 3-pointers made (31).
Irving, an All-Star for the fifth time in seven seasons in the league, was the game’s Most Valuable Player in 2014.
The fact he and James will start for Team LeBron on Sunday night along with Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond, who is replacing the injured DeMarcus Cousins, is still special, even for a star such as Irving.
“I was telling some of the guys that this was, for me, myself, Russ (Westbrook), K.D., A.D. and LeBron, and it’s probably one of the best fives I’ve ever been on the court with,” Irving said. “Just the talent is, wow, man!
“And you see how big of fans we are with one another and we’re all on the floor together, it’s pretty awesome. I think that lineup is something that you kind of envisioned in the video game.
“For me to actually be part of it is something awesome.”