LeBron is out-competing Kyrie in alienating "motivational" speeches

The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have a long -- if not the longest -- history of competition rooted in their historic rivalry, but this season, it's taken a bizarre turn.

With the Celts finally healthy again after multiple serious injuries contributed to their season ending at the hands of LeBron James while he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and James himself headed west to join the Lakers, many anticipated a renaissance of enmity between the two teams, perhaps eventually leading to a title re-match in a season or two after both teams established successful runs this year.

Caption this in the comments below - whatever they are talking about, it's probably not effective speaking classes.

This is not how that has played out on either end.

Boston has struggled to care about lesser clubs during the regular season -- in some ways mirroring last season's Cavaliers -- while still wrecking shop or at least staying with the best teams in the league, with role ambiguity and consistency marring big expectations for the franchise.

L.A. has similarly disappointed, with LeBron's worst injury of his career combining with his machinations to land Anthony Davis failing and alienating teammates who were likely to be fodder for the deal. And now, James and Kyrie Irving seem to be cribbing from each other's leadership "approach".

Watch the video above, and ask yourself who, exactly, is the "master" and who the "teacher" when it comes to making ill-advised speeches unlikely to help one's current situation -- both former Cavs seem quite adept at stirring a pot that, more than anything, needs to settle into the stew each is to have a shot at success.

To Kyrie's credit, at least in recent days, that message seems to have taken hold.

Perhaps it's because of the growing possibility that James may miss his first postseason in over a decade, and the reality of a wasted season much less palatable in the wake of some of the strongest evidence to date of age-related decline removing LBJ from service for nearly a quarter of the season that motivated the diatribe above. Perhaps it's out of frustration of things finally not breaking his way.

Whatever the cause, the parallels remain between the two teams in winning as with losing. Here's to hoping Boston, as it long has, maintains the edge in positive competitions - we can let them win the "inconsistent effort with bloviating and misguided leadership posturing" award all on their own.

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Image: Brian Babineau/NBAE; video: Boston Celtics, Tomasz Kordylewski
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