Skip to content

LeBron James: Kevin Durant will feel title pressure ‘when I retire’

Feb 13, 2014, 4:03 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Miami Heat Getty Images

A statistical projection developed by John Hollinger pegs the Oklahoma City Thunder as this season’s most likely NBA champions. So does Kevin Pelton’s formula.

The Thunder of have the the league’s best record (42-12_, best player (Kevin Durant) and arguably best No. 2 once he returns (Russell Westbrook). They’ve been to the Finals before and have fallen short.

This is the exact profile of a team that should face immense pressure to win a title.

So why hasn’t Oklahoma City, which admittedly does deal with some high expectations, come under the strongest microscope?

LeBron James.

And he knows it.

Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report:

When does he think the pressure will truly shift to Durant to take the Larry O’Brien trophy?

“When I retire,” James replied. “When I retire. They’re still talking about, am I going to win a third? You know…”

LeBron is the most analyzed athlete of all time. The best player in basketball, a sport with the most identifiable stars, he’s failed and succeeded in dramatic fashion during the internet era. Nobody before him has been put so thoroughly through the ringer on Twitter, television and hundreds of other forms of communication.

He’s won the last two NBA titles, so thoroughly capturing our attention that Durant and the Thunder don’t have a chance. The pressure on LeBron to win a title his first season in Miami was higher than on any non-defending champion ever, so it sure hasn’t gone away now that the Heat have entrenched themselves as favorites.

Not even Durant’s MVP-caliber season will change that.

However, I wonder whether Durant’s success influenced LeBron’s quote. I thought Ben Standig of CSN Washington might a wise point yesterday:

Until recently, LeBron hadn’t sought as much attention during the Heat’s championship run. But that’s changed in a hurry.

It seemed LeBron learned a less from his bluster during his first year in Miami – “Not one, not two, not three…” – and wanted to keep a, relatively, lower profile.

Now, I think he’s purposefully going out of his way to draw attention. The Heat have coasted most of the season. If they don’t kick it into gear, they won’t win a third straight title. Maybe a brighter spotlight will bring out their best effort.

The plan makes sense. Miami can’t keep going like this.

As LeBron knows, the pressure is on.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Kings sign former college star Marshall Henderson to training camp deal

    Aug 27, 2015, 11:59 PM EDT

    Marshall Henderson Marshall Henderson

    Henderson has played in Iraq and Qatar since going undrafted.

  2. Report: Russell Westbrook marrying longtime girlfriend this weekend

    Aug 27, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT

    Russell Westbrook Russell Westbrook

    Westbrook and Nina Earl have been together since college.

  3. Stephanie Ready to become first full-time female local NBA game color analyst

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    From twitter.com/StephanieReady From twitter.com/StephanieReady

    As an NBA League Pass junkie I’ll tell you why I’m happy — she’s good.

  4. Remembering Darryl Dawkins’ 20 greatest dunks (VIDEO)

    Aug 27, 2015, 5:51 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwqxntu4mwq2otc2otkyntezmgm0njfmyjexywywmtdk AP

    If you’re keeping score at home, there are two shattered backboards on the list.

  5. Legendary Sixer, backboard-shattering dunker Darryl Dawkins dies at 58

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:25 PM EDT

    NBA House - Moynihan Station 2015 Getty Images

    Chocolate Thunder remained an ambassador of the game.

  6. Report: Ryan Hollins receiving interest from Kings, Wizards, Clippers

    Aug 27, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    He probably will land on a roster somewhere. Eventually.

  7. Pelicans pull French center Alexis Ajinca out of EuroBasket

    Aug 27, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

    This is a blow to France, but they remain one of the deepest teams at EuroBasket and one of the favorites.

  8. Despite earlier report, Chuck Hayes will not sign with Rockets

    Aug 27, 2015, 1:54 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Houston’s salary cap picture changed before the deal got inked.

  9. Pistons’ Brandon Jennings says when healthy he’s fine with being sixth man

    Aug 27, 2015, 11:54 AM EDT

    Orlando Magic v Detroit Pistons Getty Images

    Stan Van Gundy wants to play Brandon Jennings and Stephen Jackson together at times.

  10. Report: Clippers, Glen Davis still talking about potential deal

    Aug 27, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Two Getty Images

    At this point in his career Davis is the “break glass in case of emergency” big.

  11. LeBron James sells Miami home for cool $13.4 million

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    LeBron James AP

    LeBron turned a $4.4 million profit.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. James (2005)
  2. D. Rose (1835)
  3. K. Bryant (1664)
  4. J. Smith (1572)
  5. K. Irving (1445)
  1. T. Thompson (1413)
  2. T. Wroten (1352)
  3. A. Davis (1338)
  4. J. Embiid (1264)
  5. F. Saunders (1255)