Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving has admitted that he spoke out of frustration when he called out his teammates following their loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday.
The point guard lashed out at the team's younger players, claiming that they have no idea what it takes to win a championship.
“The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team," Irving said after Saturday's defeat. "What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the Finals?"
Speaking to reporters at shootaround on Monday, the guard, who will sit out against the Nets due to a quad injury, explained his reasons for publicly criticizing his colleagues.
"I never want to come from a place where I don't want to sound like, or make it feel like, I don't want to win a championship," he said, via ESPN.com. "Sometimes I may come off and say things, never to question my teammates in public like that ever again; I just want to win so bad.
"It came from a place where I asked for a trade and I'm coming here and I believe in this organization and I want these young guys to be successful. In order to that, we all got to be on the same page and have that mindset that, a championship or nothing. And sometimes that can get the best of me at times."
Boston stormed their way to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, with both Irving and Gordon Hayward out injured. But with bigger expectations placed on them this term, the team has struggled mightily.
"It takes a lot of teams a long time to get there, some teams never get there," head coach Brad Stevens said. "We'll see if this team does from a [consistency] basis. But we've shown that we have a chance, so that's good."
"I'm leading this thing," Irving added. "I'm going to take most of it."
What This Means
Despite the understandable frustration after losing two straight games, Irving should have steered clear of calling his teammates out in public.
He would do well to remember that the very players he accused of not knowing what it takes to win are the same players who got to within a single game of making it to the finals without him.
There's still lots of time left to fix things in Boston. However, Irving's questionable judgment and recent poor leadership could possibly cause the rest of the team to rebel.