Hand of the King

He’s stood by LeBron James’ side through it all. It was a role that he assumed, but didn’t ask for. Yet, like many others before him, Kyrie Irving has come to the realization that James is not the rightful King and he no longer wishes to assume the role of the Hand.

A loyal Hand will seek out a King in which he sees greatness, or the ability to become great. In the case of LeBron James, he may be one of the few Kings that has the reverse experience — no player, perhaps other than J.R. Smith, has willingly pledged his allegiance to LeBron. His Highness & His Royal Circus always seem to be in full swing and everyone has always played their part accordingly until now. Kyrie Irving is simply the first one to say, “Enough!”

Whether the headline refer to Mike Brown as the offensively incapable coach, David Blatt the inexperienced NBA coach, or Kyrie the bad soldier, LeBron is an extremely powerful King with an ever-looming, passive-aggressive presence. There is much to read between the lines being that those individuals seemingly thrown under the bus are often of high character. In an attempt to not be vilified upon his departure (to LA?), King James has forced just about every team move through careful calculation — from who he plays with to who coaches him, to who stays and who goes. There is also much to read on the court when ‘fouls’ are not called for every touch play, or when teammates miss an assignment. We’re not saying that LeBron is the common problem (cough, cough), but if you happen to come to that conclusion on your own (wink!), then we understand.

Much like Kevin Durant, there is a sense that Kyrie Irving wants to play basketball the right way. The sideshow antics that are often associated with LeBron James are very much similar to those of Russell Westbrook. So much so that it’s surprising the two have yet to broker a pact to play with one another in the near future. It would easily add instant entertainment value to James’ Royal Circus — the greatest show on earth!

Kyrie Irving has been an unforgiving soldier. One, like Ray Allen, that has gifted the King a championship ring. One, like a lone wolf among ultimate Warriors, that has laced his Nike’s tight after every injury and continued to battle in the biggest of Finals games without pause. For all intents and purposes, Kyrie Irving is the Hand under contract to both House Cavaliers and King James that must aggressively continue to force a trade.

The balance of power has greatly shifted throughout the NBA realm, and Kyrie (first of his name and product of the high-guard of Duke University), like many of us, knows that Winter will soon come. Now it’s time to prepare for a new season with new allies, and perhaps, the falling of an old empire. A new battle will emerge, one in which Kyrie looks to be the dragon. Pay attention and gather around the sand table fellow clergy men and clergy women — shall we begin?

(This article was originally published on July 24, 2017)