Five facts that make the visceral reaction to Kevin Durant and LeBron James short-sided

by Angela Davis|@jerseygirlsport Jersey Girl Sports fam all throughout out the NBA post-season the 'talk' has been around whether or not LeBron James was worthy or had earned the right to be called the 'greatest of all time'- GOAT in the NBA. Equally annoying has been the discussion about Kevin Durant. The championship MVP left the Oklahoma City Thunder in pursuit of a championship with their nemesis. Well it paid off, and now he wakes up a champion. Meanwhile the rest of the sports community waste and still is in heated debates about whether Durant's move to Golden State was 'soft', 'weak', and ensured he didn't have to work hard to get the coveted trophy. Most of the arguments are subjective. Depending on who you like, you either consider what Durant did a smart business move or a weak one. Depending on how you feel about LeBron or the game of basketball, you either think this loss solidifies that he can never be called the GOAT or that his stats still make him worthy of the conversation. In an effort to move from the subjective to the objective, let's talk about both Durant and James with some facts. Fact 1: The NBA is not the same. All fans who are basking in the glow of the 80's and 90's need to MOVE ON! The game has changed. Players are more versatile. Players are more accessible and their skill level is different.  Basketball is more entertainment and fans want a live highlight reel. Fact 2: No player has EVER averaged a triple-double in the Finals--except LeBron James. Not Kobe. Not Jordan. Not Barkley, Malone, Magic or Bird. Fact 3: Kevin Durant made a personal business decision. The truth is that fans really only care about championships. Some die-hard fans are true lovers of the game--and so the loyalty their looking for, where teams are built slow and steady are a thing of the past. Re-read Fact 1. Fact 4: LeBron James has been to two more NBA Finals than Michael Jordan, and despite the criticisms he still has as many NBA championships as Larry Bird and two more than Julius Erving. These are stats that absolutely cannot be ignored. Fact 5: Fans will only remember the championship. Most fans are not fans of the intricacies of the game. They like slam-dunks, fast layups and ally-oops and the now-popular three-point shot. Most fans aren't interested in the dynamic aspects of play, so the argument of leveraging someone's talent and skill down to one game or championship win either by choice or loss is just short-sided at best. Kevin Durant is the MVP. Even if you don't like how he earned it, by playing his ass off in a game for a team he wanted to be with to get a ring and a championship he's had his eyes set on since he was eight-years-old, you have to respect it. LeBron said it best:
Well, for me personally, I left everything on the floor every game, all five games,” James said Monday night. “So for me personally I have nothing to be — I have no reason to put my head down. I have no reason to look back at what I could have done or what I shouldn’t have done or what I could have done better for the team. I left everything I had out on the floor every single game for five games in this Finals, and you come up short. “So it would be the same if you feel like you wrote the best column of your life and somebody picked another one over you. That’s — how would you feel? You know, so you wouldn’t hold your head down, but you would be like, OK, it’s just not my time.
So there you have it. LeBron James is an amazing basketball player, arguably the best player in the NBA right now. His stats alone--and that is enough to qualify him as the greatest. Beyond that you're looking at subjective things that just become personal. Kevin Durant is a formidable player. He is not obligated to stay with a team to appease fans' expectations about his NBA career, nor is he required to explain his decisions. The NBA is both a business and a sport, and the game is both athletic and entertainment. We now have a championship MVP and perhaps the GOAT. Those are the facts.

Author: Jersey Girl Sports

Jersey Girl Sports is a lifestyle brand dedicated to the millions of women who like to watch sports. We present sports from the female perspective–the way we see it, how we talk about it and what we have to say about it. It’s sports on OUR terms. We can enjoy sports as much as any man, just with better shoes.

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