Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has a long-standing history with both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets. Irving and LeBron were teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers when the Nets’ star was the hero of the 2016 NBA Finals after hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer in Game 7 over the Golden State Warriors while trailing 3-1 in the series. Durant and James also have history. The two have gone head-to-head in three NBA Finals (2012, 2017, 2018) with Durant getting the best of LeBron twice during his time with the Warriors in 2017 and 2018.
During a question-and-answer session via his Twitter account in May, LeBron was asked who he would pick as his teammate in a hypothetical 2-on-2 matchup against Chicago Bulls legends Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen. His answer? Durant, Kyrie, and the late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
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Draymond Green Issues Strong Statement About Durant
Durant put the world on notice during his first championship run with the Warriors in 2017, defeating LeBron, Kyrie and the Cavaliers and securing his first of two NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards. In a 2020 interview on Showtime’s “All the Smoke”, Durant’s former teammate and Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, praised Durant’s performance in the 2017 NBA Finals. Green felt the result should have been Durant being considered the best basketball player in the world over LeBron James.
“We win a championship, Kevin wins Finals MVP. He f***** in my opinion, he got the best of Bron that series, like Kevin, was f***** rocking’…. And after that, it was kind of that moment of like ‘Damn Kevin should be the best player in the NBA now because of what he just did to LeBron,” Green said.
Kyrie Clears Air on Comments About Kevin Durant
Irving and LeBron have had their share of differences, which led to the Nets star requesting a trade During a recent interview. And those issues became even more bloviated when Irving and Durant joined forces on the Nets. In 2020 Kyrie did an interview praising Durant’s ability to perform in the clutch which the Lakers star took exception to. During a recent interview on Boardroom’s “The ETCs” podcast, Irving clarified his comments, emphasizing that his praise for Durant was not meant to be a slight at LeBron.
“Shout out to LeBron, you know what I mean. He felt like I was slighting him, and I would never slight him in a way that would probably make him go and have to respond to things like that, you know what I mean?” Irving said. “I respected the hell out of him. We’ve been through our own battles as teammates, as competitors together. So, like that that’s all part of it, bro.”
“It’s all fun, but when you gotta — like, when you gotta — go and communicate through alternative channels, that only makes things worse. You feel me? You know what I mean? That’s like water under the bridge in terms of how people perceive what’s being said and then how I actually meant it.”
The Nets and Lakers came in as the early favorites to represent their respective conferences in the NBA Finals. After falling short of those expectations, it will be interesting to see how both teams can bounce back in 2023.