The late Los Angeles Lakers star took the Brooklyn Nets point guard under his wing and was a mentor to him during his early days in the NBA. It's no surprise that Irving mentioned him during his Instagram Live on Friday.
“Some people may describe Kob as this ‘fierce competitor, NBA All-Star, MVP, he doesn’t pass.’ Don’t forget that they even tried to crucify and smear my man Kob," Irving said. "Come on. Stay woke. Artist, teacher, philosopher, hooper, cultural icon."
Irving appeared to be referencing the media in his comments, referring to how news outlets handled Bryant's 2003 sexual assault case.
The Brooklyn star is currently in the headlines himself for remarks he made on The Etc with Kevin Durant podcast, which were widely perceived as shots fired at LeBron James.
Irving was asked who would be tasked with taking the final shot with 10 seconds left in a one-game: himself or his teammate Kevin Durant. "Depends on who's hot. I don't see it as anything other than that," he replied. "One-three pick and roll, or it's an iso for either one of us or it's something great for our team."
"One thing I've always been comfortable with is I felt like I was the best option on every team I've played for down the stretch. This is the first time in my career where I can look down and be like, 'that motherf***er can make that shot too.'" Kyrie may have forgotten he played with one of the greatest players of all-time for just a moment there.
Irving, for his part, tried to clear it up after the fallout. "Why must it always be brother against brother? Why? If I’m addressing anyone, I’ll say their name," he said, denying that was intentionally taking a shot at his former teammate.
Other than that, Kyrie lit some incense and just started talking with his fans on Instagram Live. He opened the Live up talking about his ancestry, the fact that he's a numerology fan and his love of painting.