The summer of 2010 in the NBA didn?t just mark the beginning and end of what was the most talented free agent class in recent memory, but also the changing of the guard in the NBA. LeBron James went from the most beloved player in the NBA to one of the most hated in a matter of hours. The NBA now has a new favorite son and he is Kevin Durant. In Durant?s three short seasons in the NBA, he has managed to turn around a floundering Seattle SuperSonics team into a squad that took the world champ Lakers to the brink in the first round of the playoffs this past season. Now he was unable to save the Seattle SuperSonics from leaving town after his rookie season, but that had little to do with Durant?s Rookie of the Year seasons and more to do with the dying sports market in Seattle.
In a sense, Kevin Durant is the anti-LeBron. LeBron is cocky, Durant is Humble. LeBron is skipping out on the FIBA World Championships in Turkey this summer to star in a fantasy basketball camp movie, while Durant cheered courtside for his Thunder teammates in the Orlando Summer League. LeBron was on the cover of GQ, while Durant showed up to a playoff postgame press conference wearing plaid. LeBron is the hometown hero who abandoned his city for greener pastures, while Durant has decided to stay with his new adopted city where he is loved like a son. LeBron had a nationally televised one-hour special on ESPN titled ?The Decision? to let everybody know who he was going to sign with, while Durant announced his five-year extension with the small market Thunder on his Twitter account. Even their nicknames are stark in contrast. LeBron is the self proclaimed King James, while Kevin was given the nickname Durantula after people just started calling him that. And the latest difference comes directly from Kevin Durant via Twitter. He says, ?Now everybody wanna play for the heat and the Lakers? Let's go back to being competitive and going at these peoples!?
This statement is refreshing to me as an NBA fan. I?m glad there are still star players out there who want to lead their own team to the promised land. Michael Jordan said it best, ?There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team.' Kevin Durant clearly is of the old school mentality, to be the best, you got to beat the best, while LeBron just seems to prescribe to the theory, if you can?t beat them, then join them.