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OKC Thunder: King James sees a threat to his throne — and it's Kevin Durant

It started last season, with an early December declaration that should now be viewed as the first verbal lob that turned friends into foes. We didn't know it at the time, but it foreshadowed the recent and relentless rhetoric coming out of Miami.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 17, 2014

/articleid/3934712/1/pictures/2350710">Photo - The Miami Heat's LeBron James speaks at a news conference after the NBA All Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
The Miami Heat's LeBron James speaks at a news conference after the NBA All Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Interestingly, James had a different reaction when posed the same question about Durant.

“I don't mind,” James said. “I'm a truthful guy. I don't sugarcoat nothing. I speak the truth. If you ask me a question, I give it to you the truthful way. That's how I keep you guys happy. You guys want the truth and nothing but the truth.”

But what is the truth?

There's a widespread belief that James is manipulating the media, strategically sounding off about all things Durant out of desperation. This, you see, has been the year of Durant and with the passing of each eye-popping performance by Durant, it's LeBron who is losing ground, LeBron who is losing his stranglehold on the league's Most Valuable Player Award, his reign as a two-time champ and maybe even his status as the world's best player.

Many feel that James, by sending subtle and not-so subtle messages aimed at and centered on Durant, is reminding everyone of who he is and what he's done.

That he has a hidden agenda behind all these comments.

“Obviously he gets asked about him a lot,” said Miami guard Dwyane Wade of his teammate being asked about Durant. “When you've got two players like that, obviously they've been in MVP talks the last couple of years so he's going to get asked about him a lot. But at the same time, he sees what this young guy is doing as well. And the competitor in him wants to be just as great. So it's kind of a combination of both.”

Wade continued.

“LeBron, for a few years, has known Kevin Durant has been coming as a player,” Wade said. “He's at that point, he's 25 years old, I mean, he has all the talent in the world. (LeBron) was a Kevin Durant before, gaining on a Kobe Bryant.

“We don't really take words or too much of what people say and put that as the main motivation throughout an NBA season. It's more so you're just trying to be the player that you want to be, and he wants to be the best, one of the greatest of all time. And he knows this young guy is coming. And he's trying to protect his turf.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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