LeBron James and Kevin Durant are, without question, two of the greatest basketball players
of their generation ever. They’re also two of the biggest names to utilize free agency in order to find an ideal basketball situation for them. James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat (where he won two titles), then returned to the Cavs (where he brought a title to his championship-lacking home city), and finally joined the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason, to start a new chapter. Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder to team up with the Golden State Warriors, where he’s won two titles and evolved his game on both ends of the court.
As such, there have been rumors about the two stars (who have a combined 23 All-Star selections) teaming up next summer, when Durant will again be a free agent (assuming he opts out of his contract), and the Lakers will have cap space. But KD seemed to suggest that won’t happen, when he criticized the media environment that follows James as being “toxic.”
“I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic,” Durant said. “Especially when the attention is B.S. attention, fluff. It’s not LeBron’s fault at all — it’s just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word. Just get out of the way and let us play basketball.”
In an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, James responded to Durant’s comments. He admitted to being angry upon hearing them, but also to clearing the air with his peer.
LeBron James says he was pissed off when he heard Kevin Durant’s toxic comments. pic.twitter.com/1nLyYvpEn9— TheWarriorsTalk (@TheWarriorsTalk) December 25, 2018
James went into detail in the full interview, discussing why it hit a nerve:
I was a little pissed off when I first heard it -- to be honest. I didn’t know where it stemmed from. So I was pissed, my family was pissed, and my friends were pissed. We just didn’t know why, at this point and time in the season, my name or what I’ve done in my career was kind of talked about like that. I don’t feel like it’s ever been toxic around me. And when I hear “toxic,” I automatically thought, “toxic” is like you don’t wanna be around that because it’s almost like a fatal disease.
But as for where they stand now, it appears that the air has been cleared:
Got a phone call from KD. We talked about it. He mentioned how he felt and how he felt the story took a twist. And as a man, I don’t hold on to things too long. I’m too happy in my life right now, and I don’t hold on to anything that will take away from my happiness. . . Listen, he told me how he felt, and he apologized on how it came out. And I said, all right. We moved on from there.
It sounds like all is well between the pair of MVPs, though it’s easy to understand both sides of the story. Durant’s comments certainly reflected something accurate, and worth discussing, but it’s understandable why they rubbed James the wrong way.
If you are interested in the full interview with James, which covers his new team, the season, his family, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and many other categories, you can read it here, or watch below.