Warriors’ Kevin Durant calls media around LeBron James ‘toxic’
The LeBron James era is in full effect, but contrary to those who thought players would flock to him in a big market like the Los Angeles Lakers provides, he wound up with myriad misfits as role players — something that has greatly slowed his rise as a powerhouse in the Western Conference. Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who played the part of grim reaper in James’ last two NBA Finals appearances, notes that players have ultimately taken notice of the risk/reward factor in playing alongside a megastar of his caliber:
“Kevin Love, he had to totally change his game to fit, to be a shooter,” Durant told Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. “Which, I think, he deserves way more credit for switching his game. (Chris) Bosh, same way. LeBron is a player that needs to play with guys that already know how they play the game — and shooters. Like, young players that are still developing, it’s always going to be hard because he demands the ball so much, he demands control of the offense and he creates for everybody.”
Durant also pointed to the suffocating media circus around James isn’t doing him any favors, in terms of recruiting:
“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people,” said Durant. “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 bulls**t 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.”
Players often have to deal with much more than they bargained for just to ride coattails for a winning team. As LeBron ages — now soon to be 34 years old — the reward becomes much less enticing than early on in his career, as The King is fighting a war against Father Time, an enemy that is undefeated.