After last night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets at the Staples Center, it is safe to say that the NBA has its newest rivalry. Hollywood was the perfect setting for Thursday’s blockbuster matchup, a game filled with theater. Nets forward Kevin Durant’s latest act on Instagram is setting the stage for an even more dramatic sequel.
Kevin Durant & Kyrie Throw Shade at LeBron
During last night’s matchup Lakers’ star, LeBron James missed a technical free throw in the second quarter. After the miss the TNT cameras caught LeBron’s former Cleveland Cavalier teammate Kyrie Irving saying to James’ Laker teammates, “That’s your best free throw shooter?”
“that’s your best free throw shooter?” pic.twitter.com/oM2IW1gUbJ
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) February 19, 2021
Durant later liked a video of the exchange on Instagram.
Kevin Durant is a straight savage for this one 💀
— Jac Manuell (KD liked my tweet) (@TheJManJBT) February 19, 2021
Kevin Durant & LeBron Have Unspoken Rivalry
KD and LeBron have a storied history together. Although they may have the greatest rivalry in sports the two future Hall of Famers have a great deal of respect for one another.
Despite having fewer championships and regular season Most Valuable Player awards than his former teammate Steph Curry, Durant feels James is the only active player that rivals him. Durant reaffirmed this during his postgame interview after securing his first championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2017.
“He’s the only person that I was looking at since 2012. He’s the only one I looked at and said he’s the only guy that can look me eye-to-eye,” Durant told ABC’s Doris Burke after defeating LeBron and the Cavs in the 2017 NBA Finals via The Score.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 13, 2017
It would be the first of two championships that Durant would capture at LeBron’s expense.
While there is much mutual respect between LeBron and KD that does not stop the competitors from throwing slight jabs at each other.
In 2018 Kevin Durant sounded off about the “toxic” media environment that surrounds LeBron.
“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people,” Durant said to Bleacher Report in 2018 via the New York Times. “He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I’m like, we’re playing basketball here, and it’s not even about basketball at certain points.
“So, I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic. Especially when the attention is B.S. attention, fluff. It’s not LeBron’s fault at all — it’s just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word. Just get out of the way and let us play basketball.”
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LeBron was not at all pleased with Durant’s comments.
“I was a little pissed off when I first heard it, to be honest,” James told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols via Bleacher Report. “I didn’t know where it stemmed from. … I was asked later that night after our game, and I didn’t want to comment because I didn’t see it, I didn’t hear [it].
Kevin Durant later called LeBron to clarify his comments.
“Got a phone call from KD,” James continued. “He mentioned how he felt and how the story … how he felt the story took a twist. And as a man, I can’t, I don’t hold on to things—too long. I’m too happy in my life right now, and I don’t hold on to anything that will take away from my happiness.”
LeBron and KD are the clear-cut two best players in the game today. Despite the war of words, seeing these two go at each other on the court with bad blood in the mix might be just what the game is missing.