Kyrie Irving became friends with Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan during the 2016 Olympics. Irving had just won a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers while Durant was coming off his decision to join the Golden State Warriors.
The three had endless conversations about basketball, including how LeBron James had orchestrated his own “friend group” with the Miami Heat with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
On one of the final nights they had together during their Olympic run, Irving, Durant and Jordan toasted.
“Hey, this would be cool to do for real” Jordan recalls Irving saying.
“I asked him, ‘What you mean by that?'” Jordan says, “and Ky said, ‘Let’s all get on the same team and play together.'”
Durant went on to win titles in 2017 and 2018. Irving requested a trade in 2017 from the Cavaliers and ended up on the Boston Celtics. Jordan left the Los Angeles Clippers for the Dallas Mavericks and eventually the New York Knicks in 18-19.
“The brotherhood was real,” Irving says, “but circumstances kept us apart.”
“There were times when you had to wonder, ‘Is this ever going to really happen?”‘ Jordan says.
All three players became free agents in 2019.
“We all agreed,” Jordan says, “‘We gotta do this.'”