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Kevin Durant extremely tired of LeBron James comparisons

Feb 16, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

Kevin Durant, LeBron James

Kevin Durant and LeBron James have pulled away from the field, setting up what could be a thrilling head-to-head finish down the stretch for Most Valuable Player.

Durant is having the better season so far. There’s little question about that. With Russell Westbrook out, Durant has put the Thunder on his back, raising his game to its highest levels. LeBron, coming off back-to-back lengthy playoff runs that yielded championships, has relatively coasted.

Yet, LeBron is still widely considered the NBA’s best player. With four MVPs in the last five years – Derrick Rose stole one in the middle – LeBron has built up enough benefit of the doubt. He has also remained within striking distance of Durant for having the best 2013-14 season.

Durant-LeBron comparisons have obviously run rampant, as deciding between the two depends on the terms of the debate and personal preference. There’s no easy resolution here.

The players themselves aren’t immune from the discussion, often taking questions about each other and seeing the debate anytime they peruse sports media.

Michael Wallace of ESPN:

Asked during Friday’s All-Star media day session to gauge on a scale of one to 10 how tired he is of having to face comparisons to James, the Oklahoma City star ventured well off the charts.

“Um, about a 25,” Durant fired back. “It’s every day, I mean. You should really focus on how good LeBron James is. I think people should appreciate that more than always comparing guys. In our world, you want to compare everything. You judge everything. That’s just how we are.”

“Let’s just sit back and judge basketball as we play it; not just LeBron and myself, but other guys in the league, too,” Durant said. “Just enjoy it, because it’s here today and gone tomorrow. A lot of people take it for granted.”

LeBron, via Wallace:

I don’t mind [Durant questions] at all. I’m a truthful guy. I don’t sugarcoat nothing.

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It’s interesting to see the difference between the two.

I don’t think Durant will let the comparisons get to him, even if he doesn’t enjoy them. But it could get grating. LeBron, on the other hand doesn’t mind the comparisons, inviting them even.

The discussion won’t end anytime soon. Durant doesn’t have to like it, but he better tolerate it. Otherwise, that gives LeBron an upper hand.

Yup, I just compared how Durant and LeBron handle comparisons between each other. Like I said, this isn’t going away.

  1. av416 - Feb 16, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Of course Lebron invites comparisons. No one in the world could argue that they are comparable on the defensive end of the floor and when it comes to the overall specimen each men are. Lebron knows any comparison between him and KD would stem on the offensive side of the ball because, as I said, Lebron takes the athletic/defensive argument every time. Given KD is clearly the more gifted pure scorer of the basketball of course Lebron would invite such comparisons because it puts himself and one of the greatest scorers we’ve seen in the same conversation. Pretty obvious to me.

    • miamatt - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      What? Durant is the one who is fortunate to be talked about in the same breath as LBJ, not the other way around.

      While I don’t see how LeBron invites the comparison, he has stated on multiple occasions that he knows KD is the “next man up” and that it motivates him. If anything, LeBron is playing up and even manufacturing perceived slights to push himself, not unlike we’ve seen MJ and Kobe do. Iron sharpens iron.

      • shadowgamesshades - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        Wake me when Lebron gets 5 rings like Kobe.

      • zoomy123 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:26 AM

        @shadowgamesshades

        Seriously? Kobe Bryant played with Shaquille O’Neal, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest…and the list goes on and on. Lebron played in Cleveland for 7 years and the best player next to him was Zydrunas Illgauskus.

      • money2long - Feb 17, 2014 at 8:43 AM

        lol zoomy you should have stopped at shaq.

        even though the haters hate to admit that kobe helped shaq too, kobe was a huge part of those rings he won with shaq. kobe got three as the second option, yes, but he was a huge second option. he will be remembered in la for being a big part of those championship years.

        you bring up pau. ok….he was being called mediocre when he was traded to la. the only reason it got so much notoriety was because of the guy la sent to memphis in return. and even when they were rolling, people always called pau soft. ppl hated giving pau props. but when the time comes to make the case “kobe had sooo much help after shaq left” the haters will forget all their quips against pau and call him the greatest big man ever. pshh.

        let’s continue down your list. you mention ron and lamar. lol. if im not mistaken, at the time they got ron, critics were saying how it was a bad move to bring him in because he was “crazy” and a complete downgrade from trevor ariza. and lamar odom? lol ok, you don’t want to give kobe credit for getting rings with shaq but you want to give credit to lamar’s role in helping kobe? double standard much??

        also dwight howard. you weren’t serious right? how many rings does he have? you must have not seen the mixtape of howards greatest lakers moment that lasted, oh, about 2 seconds.

        moving on…

        andrew bynum was good. he helped, but if i remember, phil jackson kept his minutes low and it wasn’t as if bynum was a dominating force. he played hurt one championship run because he wanted so badly to be a part of that legacy. another championship run i don’t think they even had his services. he had a bum knee. and when i think about it, he was held in check a lot during his time in la.

        kobe carried la for a long time after shaq, and still has done that.

        sorry zoomy. i don’t get your argument. also, lebron played in cleveland and got no rings so i don’t truly grasp your argument. everyone has won a ring with help. lebron knows that and that’s why he jetted his way to play with d-wizzle.

      • zoomy123 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        @money2long

        Everything you wrote was either irrelevant or a straw man fallacy.

        First, my argument is rather simple: You can’t compare Lebron’s 2 rings to Kobe’s 5 rings because Kobe only got those rings because he played on better teams. This isn’t rocket science.

        Second, Kobe’s 1st ring with Shaq was basically gifted to him. His stats in the 2000 NBA Finals? 15.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.2 apg on 36.7% shooting and 20% shooting from 3.

        Third, most of your post about what critics said about Pau or Ron or anybody else is irrelevant. Who cares what the critics said about Pau or Ron? What matters is they were key components of a team that had back-to-back championships. And I suppose being coached by Phil Jackson rather than Mike Brown is an upgrade…

        Fourth, I never said Kobe doesn’t deserve credit for those championships. Kobe nut-huggers love to make up nonsense when they realize an argument isn’t going their way. What I said is that Kobe got those championships because of the teams he played on, which is true. Again, this isn’t rocket science.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      I do not buy this argument about KD being the more “gifted pure scorer.”

      Durant has played 515 regular season games in his career. After 515 games LeBron had scored more points (14264 to 13957), had more 50 point games (8 to 3), had more 40 point games (38 to 35), and more 30 point games (215 to 195).

      You might say, “well there is a difference now” and that’s true statistically, but not intrinsically. Miami-LeBron has been playing with other hall of famers who he has to respect more than Durant has to with guys like Reggie Jackson or Serge Ibaka.

      In any case, people should remember that when LeBron decides that he wants to score the ball he does 57% of the time – a success rate that blows away any other scorer in the top 20.

      There are a lot of factors to consider, but I think if both players were tasked with just going out there to score as many points as possible, LeBron would regularly end up scoring more than Durant.

      • miamatt - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:13 PM

        This is one of your good ones.

        And we still get to see it at times when Wade sits out. There is also no denying that Durant’s tear began when Westbrook went out. Bosh was basically a 20-10 guy for five years in a row, he didn’t forget how to play basketball when he got to Miami. The point is not to take away credit from Durant- guy is balling. The point is to put it in context- he is scoring that much because that’s what his team needs him to do in order to win. There is simply nobody else to pick up the slack.

      • av416 - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:50 PM

        The way I see it, comparing their games side by side, Lebron is unquestionably better in all facets except for scoring the basketball. Personally, I believe KD is the better scorer, but certainly either player could be argued for. My point is given that scoring the ball is the only comparison between the two that could be argued, Lebron obviously will invite the comparison because he is clearly the better player in all other facets of the game. I am praying this thread doesn’t get trolled by uninformed ignorant Heat fans.

      • miamatt - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:35 PM

        av416: In looking back at the post and reading your original comment, I think I did misinterpret both a little bit. I’ll admit I was kind of skimming and just threw something out there.

        Your point is on the whole correct and indeed, “pretty obvious”. Of course LBJ wouldn’t be bothered by it; it favors him. And of course it has grown tiresome to KD, who resents being “2nd” instead of just being appreciated in his own right.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:57 PM

      I know it seems like Durant is the more gifted scorer, but up to this point in their careers they’re very close. For their careers:

      Durant: 27.1ppg, 47.9% shooting, 59.8% true shooting
      LeBron: 27.5ppg, 49.5% shooting, 57.9% true shooting

  2. indrathegod - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:23 PM

    Well said. The contrast is amazing to look at. Now if KD intends on becoming King, he must embrace the competition to its fullest extent.

    With all that being said,Lebron is still the best player in the world. Whether you like him or not you must respect his impact on the game.

    • urodaddy07 - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      Right now KD is the best player in the world. My opinion.

      • miamatt - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:59 PM

        Respect your opinion.

        But wake me when he does it on the biggest stage.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:16 PM

        So this genius calls KD the best player in the world because of two months of play after Durant spent his entire career being LeBron’s whipping boy. KD’s best season – this season – wouldn’t even rank in LeBron’s top 3 (one of which was just last year).

        You know, a lot of players have had one-off, super-high-efficiency seasons like Durant is having – McGrady, Wade, Chris Paul, Garnett. It’s a big leap though to say that it thrusts those players into a category with guys who have done it several years, over and over, like Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

      • money2long - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:01 PM

        i respect championships, as everyone should!

        however…
        being the best player doesn’t mean you HAVE TO prove it on the best stage, but it is key.

        hypothetically, who was the best player in the world when the pistons won? let’s look at someone with more clout such as timmy d. some championship seasons where duncan has won, he wasn’t the best in the world, but the argument could have been made for him.

        point is, you can technically separate talent from championships when evaluating pure skill.

        and let’s be serious, lebron has been in the league a lot longer than the amount of rings on his finger, yet for more years than he has rings he was already being anointed the best in the world. some were even saying it when kobe was winning his 4th and fifth rings. mostly the haters.

      • miamatt - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:11 PM

        @money2long:

        You’re quite right on all points.

        I probably should have said something more like, “Did you believe that KD was superior to LBJ prior to January?”

        If yes, then that is your opinion and it is fine. If not, I might suggest taking a deep breath and getting a bigger sample size. Indeed, the “count the rings” argument is overly simplistic, and denies deeper (and more challenging) analysis.

        I do believe, without a doubt, that 30 out of 30 current GMs would take Lebron to build a team around. Maybe 29 out of 30, if you believe Sam Presti would be political in his response.

  3. givemethehighgear - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    If hadn’t won two championships in a row and played for 4 in my career, I’d want people to shut the hell up too about how I’m the greatest player in the NBA.

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      Your comment makes too much sense for the pitiful loser haters to deal with. Thanks.

  4. ufools - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    They are both pretty dang good….we’d all like to have either on our teams.

  5. shadowgamesshades - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    Well, I’m tired of the Lebron-Jordan comparisons but we can’t all get what we want.

  6. jzone954 - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    Durant is great. I mean GREAT
    Lebron is the best player in the world. I have nothing but the up most respect for Durant, it’s the media and fanbase who consistently has to compare players.

    • 5xchamp24 - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      It’s 1 word, and it’s spelled u-t-m-o-s-t

      • zoomy123 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:52 AM

        Calm down, “up most” is just dialect.

  7. R. Edmond - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    #1 rule in politics: define yourself or your opponents will define you.

    He needs a PR push to dictate his image. It also wouldn’t hurt if he compared himself to one of the old school greats instead of always saying “I’m I play like KD” when reporters ask him who he thinks he plays like.

    Example of Durant not defining himself is the nickname situation. People are thrusting Slim Reaper on him because he’d rather have plain old KD.

  8. justwannawinna - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    Lebron is a much better well rounded player but cant carry a team all the time especially in scoring; true hes developed a much better jumper but his primary scoring is in transition and penetration. Durant can score anyway he needs to. And for the fact Durants been able to elevate his game when Westbrook gets hurt adds to that and for the fact hes beaten the Heat without Westbrook says allot especially when u have the guy ur being compared to guarding you and still cant stop you? Id go with Durant as being more valuable than James for his team. Lebron cant always get it done without Wade and Bosh or without his 3 point shooters not getting it going, Durant has shown right now he can. Buh better player overall including defense, and athleticism is James no doubt. Thoughas I said earlier Durant is more valuable to his team and id say if I had to pick an MVP right now it would be Durant due to his circumstance and how well hes playing through that.

    • zoomy123 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:58 AM

      Lebron James carried the sorry @ss Cleveland Cavaliers for 7 years. He even carried them to the NBA Finals. We’re talking about a supporting cast that was arguably as bad as the supporting cast Iverson took to the finals in 2001. KD has “carried” his team for 2 months. Stop it.

      As for who’s more valuable to his team, I’d say KD but that’s only because Westbrook is out. If KD left the Thunder they’d still have a top 5 player in Russell Westbrook. If Lebron left Miami they’d be left with Chris Bosh, an All-Star to be sure, but he can’t carry a team and Wade w/ bad knees.

  9. sdlakerfan - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    I think the difference is Lebron can’t wait to tell anyone that will listen how great he is – just in the last week he’s spouted about how he should be defensive player of the year and on the NBA’s all time Mount Rushmore. This is the same narcissistic point of view that led to the “decision” debacle. Durant’s much more humble and doesn’t care to tell everyone how great he is every day. Durant is much more likable in this regard IMO.

  10. flofixer - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    Lebron may be marginally better and it has a lot to do with his physical strength. I think Durant is just as talented if not more. But in terms of maturity and intelligence, there is no comparison. Read all the comments made by both players recently and I think it’s obvious.Durant wins that one hands down.

  11. tfyjman - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    If you ask me, the physicality of one player doesn’t always translate to said player being better than his opposition. My age old example of this is Kareem. He wasn’t the lead weight center that many of his contemporaries were. For example he wasn’t as heavy or muscular as Wilt, Thurmond, Walton, or Gilmore, yet he dominated them all. If you ask most people would take Kareem over just about all of them. His skyhook, (e.g. scoring) was just too good. I realize it’s not the best comparison, but you can see where I’m going with this in this discussion of LeBron and Kevin.

  12. bjswoosh805 - Feb 17, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    Just a pleasure to watch the present GOAT and the future GOAT of the NBA.

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