Following his Finals MVP effort in a five-game win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant told Sports Illustrated of the first time he met LeBron James in a championship series five years ago, “I was Giannis Antetokounmpo. LeBron was larger than life. I was just taller.”
James’ take on what was a mutually respectful relationship at the time, complete with training sessions in LeBron’s hometown, rap duets and dinners out together during the Finals, according to SI super-scribe Lee Jenkins, “I know there is someone, somewhere, trying to take my spot. And I know where he is, too. He’s in Oklahoma. He’s my inspiration, because I see the direction he’s headed, and it’s the same direction I’m headed. I know his mind‑set, and he knows mine. It’s a collision course.”
This time around, even a future Hall of Famer of Paul Pierce’s stature was questioning whether Durant had surpassed James as the game’s best player, and the collision occurred head-on in Game 4, when they barked at each other after a flagrant-foul call. James, to Durant, was no longer larger than life.
Insomuch as we can glean from a YouTube comment, Durant thinks he’s more than just taller now:
Either that, or Durant took issue with commenter Joe Deezy’s use of “fax” instead of “facts,” and was like, Nah, you are thinking of an image of a document made by electronic scanning and transmitted as data by telecommunication links when in reality you mean a thing that is indisputably the case.
Durant recently started his own YouTube channel and has been active in the channel’s community section, even congratulating frenemy Russell Westbrook on his MVP award in that space. On Monday, he asked his subscribers in this corner of the internet, “Narrative or skill? Which one matters more to you?” More than 300 people commented, and Durant responded to just one — Joe Deezy and his “fax.”
This does not constitute beef. We want our superstars to believe they are the best, and now is not the time for Durant to concede that throne to James after vanquishing him in the Finals. And LeBron was the first to congratulate KD on his first championship, and so we suspect the respect is still mutual.
Although, they did disagree on who launched the super-team era, with Durant saying between Games 2 and 3 of the Finals that James “paved the way,” and LeBron countering after Game 5, “I don’t believe I’ve played for a super-team.” So, let’s inject some au jus into this non-beef, because it would be a lot more fun if the league’s best two players had a little more animus. Lord knows Stephen Curry is trying.
– – – – – – –