Entering 2014, LeBron James was a two-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP and a 10-time NBA All-Star. Not only is he widely recognized as the best player of his era, his name frequently gets mentioned with Michael Jordan as the two best players of all time.
So why would he be jealous of Kevin Durant?
“I get jealous sometimes when I look over at KD and he’s like 16-for-32 (from the field) and then 14-for-34. … Man,” James told ESPN.
Although he has always been an efficient shooter who could take more shots if he wanted to, James has always seemed to enjoy his role as a distributor. Instead of trying to force a shot, he is perfectly happy to pass the ball to Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or any of his other teammates with the Miami Heat.
“I’m not much of a forced-shot guy,” James explained.
“But there are games where I have it going, and then at the end of the game, I’m like, damn, I shot just 12-for-16? Why don’t I get up at least six or seven more? I definitely notice it.”
Kevin Durant’s Side of the Story
Kevin Durant hasn’t always been known as somebody who throws up a bunch of shots just to pad his stats. In fact, Durant used to receive a lot of criticism for refusing to be selfish with the basketball. That may seem like an unfair criticism, but Durant is so talented, and difficult to cover, that his teammates needed him to play with more of a ball hog mentality.
A few years ago, however, Durant was unwilling to hold on to the basketball and take a difficult shot if one of his teammates appeared to be open. He used to try too hard to make all of his teammates happy, especially Russell Westbrook.
Durant was forced to change his basketball mentality during the 2013 playoffs when Westbrook suffered a torn right meniscus. When Westbrook went down, Durant was forced to finally take full control of the Thunder. The only way OKC was going to win basketball games without Westbrook was if Durant started taking shots that he normally wouldn’t take.
In a weird way, Westbrook’s injury ended up being the best thing that ever happened for Durant.
Although Durant has plenty of accomplishments, he hasn’t won anything that James should be jealous of. He’s a five-time NBA All-Star, but he has never won an NBA championship and he has yet to earn league MVP honors.
Unlike LeBron, Durant has always been loved by the majority of NBA fans. He’s a well-spoken young man who people want to see succeed.
If there’s one thing James can justifiably be jealous about, it’s the success Durant has had with a small-market team. James had to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and form a “Super Team” with the Miami Heat in order to find consistent success on the basketball court.
The Thunder have surrounded Durant with a ton of young talent that will allow the team to find success for several years to come. Durant doesn’t need to chase a championship with a new team. If he wants to put himself in the best position to win, all he has to do is sit back and enjoy being a player for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
LeBron Is Changing
When LeBron James was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he grew tired of being the team’s only hope of winning. He was forced to put the team on his back, play selfish basketball and do everything in his power to win because he didn’t have any teammates he could rely on.
He joined the Miami Heat because he was tired of being a one-man show. He wanted to be part of a team with several talented players; most of all, he wanted to win a championship.
Now that James has accomplished everything he wanted to with the Heat, it’s possible that he’s grown tired of sharing the limelight with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Of course he still wants to win championships first and foremost, but now that he has proven to be the best player in all of basketball – maybe he thinks he could win anywhere with just about anyone.