Kyrie Irving, the second-year point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, is notoriously quiet and introverted, which many attribute to his poor childhood. Irving’s mother, Gloria, died when he was 13, and her death, coupled with the absence of his father during his childhood, both contributed to a lack of self-confidence and a deep-set fear of failure.

After Kyrie Irving famously avoided a meeting with a coaching staff by giving them a bad phone number, Kobe Bryant had to intervene. He called the coach a few times, and hopefully prevented him from making Irving suffer.

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Kyrie Irving has become one of the most respected defenders in the NBA. Everyone knows he’s a money player, and when given the chance, he’s one of the toughest players in the league. However, in the early years of his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving was not welcomed by every coach who came to Cleveland. It even led to him giving a coach the wrong number to avoid it.

That was until Kobe Bryant stepped in.

Kyrie Irving tries to avoid Phil Handy for the Cavs

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The Cavs selected Kyrie Irving first overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, and he has become a star in Cleveland. He was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2011-12 and was named an All-Star in just his second season.

But the Cavs haven’t been very good as a team. In Irving’s first two seasons, they posted a 21-45 and 24-58 record, which led to the separation of head coach Byron Scott. Irving then got a second coach in just three seasons when the Cavaliers hired Mike Brown, who was also their head coach when they reached the Finals with LeBron James in 2007.

In addition to Brown, the staff also includes Phil Handy, an assistant coach who has worked for the Cavs, Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors. And Handy said Irving was not very hospitable when he arrived.

Kai was slippery, brother, he was slippery, Handy said at 17. June in episode All The Smoke. When I got to Cleveland, the guy, Kai, tried to dial my wrong number and not answer the phone. It was slippery, and rightly so. He didn’t know me. … I trained with Kairi once and then he disappeared, giving me a number he never checked.

Irving’s agent did not respond to a request for comment before it was revealed that Irving gave Handy the wrong number.

Handy, who had a good relationship with Kobe Bryant, decided to contact the Lakers legend.

I knew he respected Koba, and Koba really liked his game, so one day I beat Koba, Handy said. I said: Look, kid, you need to coach this guy. I’d like you to give him some energy, if you will. It’s him: I bet I got you. I like it.

Then Handy said he was going to Miami to finally talk to Irving, who told him to call Bryant.

He did, and they went to the races, Handy said.

Kyrie formed a strong bond with Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, left, defends against Kyrie Irving of the Cavs at the 10. March 2016. | Harry How/Getty Images

After that, Irving and Bryant formed a close bond.

The point guard even talked about what the Lakers legend meant to him after Bryant’s passing in 2020.

I had a mentor relationship with him where I could ask him just about anything, Irving said in 2020, according to ESPN. You know, no matter how nervous I was or how scared I was, it was easy to ask him those questions about what happens day in and day out when you focus on something bigger than yourself and try to leave a legacy or some kind of mark on the game.

According to Handy, Irving’s mindset changed after he began working with Bryant.

Cob really believed in the idea and Kee just felt comfortable with the job, Handy says. It changed his whole approach to the game and [helped him] understand how to take care of his body. … But then challenge him to understand what that position means to your game. And as soon as he saw it, it was over. He just took it to a whole new level.

A different level, indeed.

Kyrie Irving has become one of the best players in the NBA

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Working with Bryant ultimately helped Irving become one of the best players in the NBA.

With LeBron James and the Cavaliers, he reached the NBA Finals three times in a row from 2014-15 to 2016-17 and was a major reason they won the title in 2015-16. He finally made the winning shot with less than a minute left in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors and made several key appearances in that series.

Irving has been named an All-Star seven times in his career and has averaged over 20.0 points in all but two seasons. The 2020-21 season was perhaps Irving’s best as well, as he averaged 26.9 points for the Brooklyn Nets, a career high in a season where he played in over 20 games. He also had 6.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds and shot 50.6 percent from the field.

Irving may not have wanted to deal with Handy at first, but the working relationship between the coach and Bryant eventually paid off for Irving and his career.

Irving has become a superstar in the NBA.

Statistics provided by Basketball Reference

COMPARED TO: LeBron James thinks he could have had 5 championships if Kyrie Irving hadn’t been so unluckyThe Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t the only owner who has been upset with up-and-comer Kyrie Irving. In the past, the Cavaliers’ LeBron James, has gotten into conflict with coaches as well. In the beginning of his career, Irving avoided a coach by giving him a bad phone number. After that, the coach invited Irving to dinner and Irving decided to make the first move by giving the coach a voicemail, but the coach still went out to dinner with him. As Irving continued to play with the Cavaliers, he was still getting bad phone numbers from his coaches. The coach wanted to teach Irving a lesson, so he sent a message to Irving’s teammates asking for their number in case Irving did something stupid. After. Read more about where was kobe bryant born and let us know what you think.

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