The comparisons between Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant have been numerous throughout their careers. A recent story involving Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reveals he wanted Durant to be a little more like James during his stint in Golden State.
During an interview on The Dan Le Batard Show, author Matt Sullivan discussed an interview he had with Kerr as part of his new book Can’t Knock the Hustle: Inside the Season of Protest, Pandemic, and Progress with the Brooklyn Nets’ Superstars of Tomorrow. Sullivan recounted that Kerr pointed to James in a conversation with Durant as a way to urge the superstar to care less about social media.
“You know, I talked to Steve [Kerr] for a while about this, and he said he took K.D. out for a drink when he was just kind of sick of K.D. being up in his D.M’s, the burner accounts and all that,” Sullivan explained. “And he takes him out, he kind of prepares the lesson and he says to K.D., ‘You know what I respect about LeBron? I respect that when he got to Miami, he got sick of the narrative, sick of the haters, all the talk, so you know what he did?’
“And K.D. kind of sits there, ‘What’s that coach?’ Has a sip of his drink, and Kerr says, ‘LeBron just said, ‘f*** it’ and then he was great again. Same with Michael, with Kobe, all the greats. So, they had to say, ‘f*** it’ and then they were all on that next level. So, you know what you have to do? And K.D. leans back and says, ‘What’s that coach?’ [Kerr:] ‘Go out and be you, you just got to say, ‘f*** it’ like LeBron did.'”
Kerr Grew Frustrated With K.D. Being Worried About Social Media
Kerr admitted his advice did not work as Durant remains one of the more active NBA players on social media. Durant has no problem responding to Twitter trolls much to the frustration of Kerr.
“But then, even though the Warriors kind of rolled from there, Steve’s [Kerr] telling me that he tried to get K.D. to stop looking at his phone all the time,” Sullivan added. “To stop beefing with Draymond [Green] and then beefing with kids on Twitter and he said, ‘I tried, but I failed. I could just see the strain on his face every day, especially that third year, just all day. But it was really, he was staring into that phone all the time.'”
Once Sullivan’s story went viral, Durant ironically reacted to Kerr’s comments by responding to a fan’s tweet. Durant believes Kerr should have also discussed his practice habits.
“I don’t see a problem with me interacting with basketball fans, it should be encouraged…steve should’ve also said that I’m never late and I work through every rep in practice with game speed,” Durant tweeted on July 6. “That should be more interesting than what I do on Twitter.”
Draymond: Durant Wants to be Considered Better Than LeBron
Both James and Durant have been complimentary of each other’s games throughout their careers. Durant’s former teammate Draymond Green believes the comparisons to James took a toll on his happiness during his tenure with the Warriors.
“In my opinion he got the best of ‘Bron [in the 2017 Finals], like Kevin was f****** rocking,” Green said during an April 2020 interview on the All the Smoke podcast, via CBS Sports. “After that, that 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. And it’s like, you turn on the TV the next day, and the f****** headline is, ‘LeBron James still best player in the world?’ You’ve got Stephen A. [Smith], you’ve got all these people debating it, and everybody’s still saying LeBron James is the best player in the world. That’s when I kind of felt like it took a turn. And then we came back for the 2017-18 season, and Kevin just wasn’t as happy.”