Durant bested James in the 2017 NBA Finals as the Warriors beat the Cavaliers 4-1 to win their second title in three years.
James has overshadowed Durant for much of his NBA career. James has three more MVP Awards and, prior to this past year, owned a three-to-none edge in NBA championships. James’ Miami Heat were victorious over Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 Finals.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Lee Jenkins in April 2013, Durant discussed how he had grown tired of looking up at James.
“I’ve been second my whole life,” he said. “I was the second-best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I’ve been second in the MVP voting three times. I came in second in the Finals. I’m tired of being second. I’m not going to settle for that. I’m done with it.”
A little over four years later, Durant may be on the verge of surpassing James. He averaged 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the Finals, en route to winning Finals MVP. Durant also hit what was the biggest shot of the series, putting the Warriors ahead in Game 3 on a pull-up three-pointer with 45 seconds remaining.
Despite Durant’s objection, James arguably remains the best player in the world.
Building on the success of his first season in the Bay Area, it wouldn’t be surprising, however, to see Durant eclipse his biggest on-court rival in the near future.
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