Kevin Durant admits bothers him to see LeBron James.
A year ago LeBron James and Kevin Durant pushed each other to get over their playoff pain after they were both cut at the knees by the Dallas Mavericks.
As a member of the Heat, James famously was ridiculed after the Big Three came up short in the NBA Finals.
As a member of the Thunder, Durant saw his young team swept under the current of the big stage that was the Western Conference finals.
Together the two bonded over an experience the pair dubbed“Hell Week.” This period of training and reflection not only pushed the pair a step further, it bonded them as friends.
A year later, Durant has a hard time even looking at James as his version of Hell Week 2012 once again finds him working with James… as a member of Team USA’s basketball squad.
This year they have zero in common as James was the victor in the NBA Finals beating Durant’s squad in a definitive fashion.
According to ESPN, Durant is not over it and it pains him to see James.
“It does. It does, but what can I do?” Durant said Tuesday. “He’s my teammate now. I’m a team player. I can’t let that affect this. This is bigger than that. It’s tough to lose in the Finals and play the guy you’ve been going up against for five games who beat you. So me, I’m just going to get over it, still be a great teammate, come out and play hard.”
“I wanted to win so bad. I wanted to win for the city, I wanted to win for of course our team, myself, I wanted to win for so many people man, you kind of feel like you let them down just a little bit,” Durant said. “So, learning process, man. I guess you’ve got to go through that to get better, so hopefully it helps us as a team. Hopefully we get a chance to get back there one day.”
James has empathy for his friend’s struggle.
“It bothers him,” James said. “I bet it bothers him and Russell (Westbrook), you know, they probably don’t want to hear about it. It would bother me, it would bother anyone that you lose to someone in the Finals, where everyone’s competing at the highest level and you want to win and then you have to team up with them not too long, not too far removed from the games.”
Kobe Bryant being Kobe Bryant says that the best medicine for Durant is to attack James whenever possible.
“Being the friends thing, I mean that’s fine,” Bryant said. “Once you start playing, I’d really, I’d have to go after him. There’s just no way.”
Durant being a stand-up guy will follow through on his promise to put this behind him for the sake of the games.
“I switched that mode off and turned it into USA Basketball mode and we’re all teammates and I’m glad we’ve come together as a group.”