Kyrie Irving: When Kobe leaves the game, it will never be the same

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving talked about Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant following practice on Thursday.

"Dating back to when I was 20 and I challenged Kobe to a one on one and the video kind of went viral and from that point on every time we played since I was a rookie I was just trying to earn his respect. Guys that have come before me I never forget their ground work, even guys that have come before Kobe have allowed him to leave a legacy in this game that will last forever. For me, I text him that when he told everyone that he was retiring, honestly didn't know he was playing that night against the Pacers. But I text him and I was like 'man you allowed me to grow in my own space and guys like you I can idolize and look up to , I'm going to take your legacy, your strive to take your legacy even further and be on the same greatest wave length as you' and that's something we all strive to do whether it happens or not, who knows. But for me idolizing someone like that, Kobe and Bron and guys I've been watching for a long time. When Kobe leaves the game, the game will never be the same," Irving said.

Bryant announced he was retiring at the end of the season. Bryant is one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

Bryant has a career average of 25.3 points, 4.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. He has also won five NBA Championships in his career (2000-2002, 2009-2011). Bryant is a two time league MVP.

Irving is slowly getting back into practice and physical activity. Irving said on Thursday that he will not give a time table on his return or a percentage on his health.

Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

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