Kyrie Irving and LeBron James played three seasons together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and while their relationship was reportedly strained at times, the duo combined to reach three NBA Finals and capture an NBA title in 2015-16.
On Thursday night, Irving and James went head-to-head as the Nets hosted the Lakers at Barclays Center, with the Lakers coming away with a 128-113 win.
James finished with a triple-double, scoring 27 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and adding 10 assists. Irving, meanwhile, finished with a team-leading 20 points to go along with four assists.
After the game, Irving was asked about his history with James, and the Nets guard was very appreciative for his time with the 15-time All-Star.
"We do have history. I think that the magnitude of our relationship extends way beyond the floor," Irving said. "I'm just appreciative. I've learned so much from that guy, and to see what he's doing at this age and this many years in the league, he's consistent, and that's a great player right there."
Irving and the Nets are scuffling of late, having now dropped 12 of their last 14 games to fall to 18-25 on the season, just two games ahead of the Detroit Pistons for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
As the Nets await Kevin Durant's return from Achilles surgery, the team has struggled to live up to expectations, much the same as the Lakers did last season in James' first year with the team.
The Lakers finished 37-45 last year, and are now 36-9, good for the best record in the West.
Irving said he can learn plenty from James' patience with the Lakers last season and how they've turned things around so quickly.
"Just stay patient. Really stay patient and don't get ahead of myself, talking too soon," Irving said. "I think that's the most important thing, and really stay confident. Keep the guys engaged, make sure everyone's sticking to the game plan and we're just continuing to get better. That's the best way I can describe it, just continue to get better and go from there."