The Kevin Durant-LeBron James rivalry is one of the most famous in the NBA in recent times. These players fought for the title of best players in the world for the most part of the 2010s, fighting for championships and the right to be called the best baller on earth. Some people could say LeBron won the battle or KD did, but there is no doubt that they left us plenty of good memories along the way.
Their story, however, didn't start when KD joined the Golden State Warriors or when he was drafted by the then Seattle Supersonics in 2007. Long before that, KD learned about this guy named LeBron James, who was expected to be the new ruler of the NBA. During a recent interview on 'The Corp' podcast, Durant recalled the first time he heard about LeBron while watching TV at home.
“Since I was in ninth grade, I turned ON ESPN one day, LeBron James was the guy that people said is the next [Michael] Jordan. So in my mind, I was a 6’2” like JV [juvenile] player, I didn’t play well until my 9th grade year.
“In my mind I was like this is the best player. So I have to be as good as this. Or I have to look him in the eye at some point in my career. So, that was always in the back of my mind as I worked, as I played games. Because that was what was told to me, because that was the new guy, that was the next Jordan.
“But that evolved until he was just another competitor. We still play against each other, that’s pretty special to me. You can call it a robbery or whatever, but to have somebody at the same position where we are guarding each other when we play, it’s special because he’s one of the best players that ever touched floor.”
After that, the rest was history. KD landed in the league as a great prospect, took the OKC to the Finals in 2012 where LeBron stopped him and his Big 3. Then, he joined the Warriors and dominated James and his Cavaliers to win two consecutive NBA championships.
Now KD is about to start a new chapter in his career with the Brooklyn Nets and we don't know if he'll face LeBron in the Finals once again, but we'll be ready for that moment.