The last time Kevin Durant and LeBron James faced off in the NBA finals, both players were on different teams and both were in different roles. LeBron was a member of the Miami Heat and was considered to be the heavy favorite to beat Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder. Fast forward five years later, and these two NBA superstars are finally going to face off again.
While LeBron has been a constant in the NBA Finals, Durant hasn’t been able to reach the promise land since 2011-12. Whether it was due to injury to him or Russell Westbrook, the Thunder trading away James Harden, or coming up short in last year’s Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, Durant has known nothing but heartbreak as a NBA star.
This year however, he saw his image turn from lovable underdog to the cupcake villain. He left the Thunder organization to join the team that beat him the previous year. Kevin Durant was now a member of the Warriors and now all other 29 team’s fan-base would label him as a ring-chasing snake.
Durant didn’t care, he saw this as his opportunity to get back to the stage he deserves to be on. After being on this current Warriors team that just went on a 12-0 tear through the Western Conference playoffs, Durant is now four wins away from winning his first ever NBA title. This is all Kevin Durant wants since he already won the league’s MVP in 2013-14 and has been the NBA’s scoring champion 4 times. Durant has achieved so much individual award’s that he was willing to sacrifice his individual legacy to try and win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The only thing left now for Kevin Durant to do is win four out of the next seven games. If he is able to do that, he will get the last laugh over all of those who viewed him as a coward. If he is successful, it will have also come against the man who has dominated the small forward position for the past decade. Beating LeBron and the Cavaliers would be a huge plus for Durant’s legacy. He will also not have to worry about being in the category of an NBA great who did not win a title. The scary thing is that it is being reported that Kevin Durant is willing to take less than the max to keep this Warrior’s team together. This means that Kevin Durant isn’t only looking to win one NBA title. He is looking to help Golden State become the dynasty they are destined to be. Durant’s play in this postseason has been superb, and is one of the main reasons that many are picking the Warriors to win the finals.
Many will say Kevin Durant took the easy way out by joining the Warriors. That may be true, but in doing so he also put a lot of pressure on himself. If he doesn’t win the NBA finals this year, he will be mocked and made fun of for the next 365 days. If he fails to win the Finals MVP, many will say that he was carried by whoever did end up winning. There is no grey area or moral victory for Durant. If he wins, the monkey will finally be off his back. If he loses, his status as a NBA great might not be able to recover.
All we know about Durant’s interest is this; he is tired of being called a cupcake. With four more wins this year, he would rather be called a different C-word: Champion.