The opening game of the new NBA season had a ton of extra drama attached to it. Not only did the league do a great job of scheduling a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Final between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the two teams also swapped star point guards in the off-season, after Kyrie Irving decided he was sick of playing in the shadow of LeBron James.
The Cavs were reportedly ready to welcome Irving back to the Quicken Loans Arena with a tribute video before the game. After all, he spent the first six years of career in Cleveland, making four All-Star teams and helping the Cavs win an NBA championship in 2016 — the first in franchise history. However, the video never aired and Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reports that it could have been current Cav players who pushed for it to get axed.
A source with direct knowledge of Cavs’ players thinking told cleveland.com that several inside the Cleveland locker room were upset Monday upon hearing that a video was planned.
[Team spokesman Tad] Carper said the decision to cancel the video was not made because of the Cavs’ players’ objections, and he said no objections had been voiced to him.
Carper also said that there was never an exact plan for when to show the video, but rather they were hoping the right time would emerge organically as the game went on:
“We were expecting to run it at a floating opportunity based on the right moment, and we felt that moment never presented itself,” Carper said.
Perhaps the video plans went down the drain when Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered a grotesque leg break just six minutes into the game, which put a real damper on the opening night festivities. Or maybe LeBron just told them to forget the video, since everyone knows he’s actually in charge of the entire Cleveland Cavaliers organization.