Kyrie Irving was excited to see his dad and sister immediately after winning the NBA championship with the Cavs but there was another non-family member that he didn’t waste anytime trying to get in touch with. Kobe Bryant has been a mentor to Kyrie and their relationship was the reason Kyrie didn’t waste anytime facetiming him as soon as he stepped in the locker room while champagne was flowing.


In an interview with “The Post Game”, Kyrie explained why it was important to him to speak with Kobe.

I actually FaceTimed Kobe [Bryant] after the game as soon as I got in the locker room. Other than seeing my dad and my sister right after we won, FaceTiming him was just a great thing, knowing how he has won five and I just won my first. Then realizing how hard it is just to win one, my respect for him is already high, but it went to another level knowing that he’s got five of them. I’m trying to get a second one.

Irving credits Phil Handy, who was also on the FaceTime, for sparking his relationship with Bryant. Handy serves as Cavs Director of Player Development/Assistant Coach, a position he has held since 2013, previously serving as Lakers Director of Player Development.

[Bryant] was telling me congrats. I had been speaking to him throughout the entire playoffs and during the season. During the Finals, we didn’t really talk as much, because for me, I wanted to experience it full on, and if I needed his help, I would reach out to him. He would send me some texts here and there, but mainly he kind of let me be, and let me grow into my own space.

Irving went on to discuss the impact Bryant has had on him and his own career. “I would say the last two years has been great just from a mental aspect, as well as being a pupil and a student of the game, and also of his,” Irving says of playing in Bryant’s era. “I’m really just watching and studying as much as possible to make sure I am getting the full potential out of myself and my teammates, and ultimately, winning basketball games and becoming the best player I can be.”

All of this is evidence of the overall impact Kobe had on the league and not just for the Lakers. Most young stars now grew up idolizing him and it was nice to hear Kyrie wasn’t shy about letting him know what he’s meant to him.