It was the second straight year that Durant worked out with LeBron in the summer but Durant says it’s not really a big deal at all.
“A lot of people blew (it) out of proportion,” Durant told The Oklahoman. “It was just one day. I’m a competitive guy. I’m sure you guys have seen that in me. I just wanted to work out. That’s what it was all about. I’ll work out with anybody. I would have worked out with Kobe Bryant. I would have worked out with Carmelo (Anthony). I just wanted to work out and get better.”
What’s rubbed some people the wrong way is that Durant and LeBron are becoming the biggest individual rivalry in the NBA, yet they seem to be developing this close friendship at the same time. Some people want the league’s biggest rivalry to be fueled by hate instead of friendship.
The point Durant is trying to make here is probably the best one: it’s simply not that big of a deal. This kind of thing has been going on in the league forever, rival players working out together in the offseason.
“I’ve been friends with him since I was in high school, and to play on the same team with him after we lost to them in the Finals that was the toughest thing,” Durant said. “Just seeing him every day after they beat us, that was tough. But I had to let that go and just focus on Team USA and that’s what I did.
“I think I grew a lot as far as mentally when I did that, just letting things go and just moving on. It was tough. It was tough for (Russell Westbrook) and James (Harden) as well. But we moved on from that and got better as individuals throughout this summer and helped the team win gold.”
The perspective Durant takes here is pretty awesome. To take the Olympic experience playing with LeBron, the guy who just beat you in the NBA Finals, and try and grow from it says a lot about the kind of player and person Durant is. He just always seems to be doing everything the right way and saying the right things.
Watching Durant in the Finals then in the Olympics, you have to trust his words too. You have to fully expect he will be back next season more prepared to win an NBA championship especially if it’s LeBron that he sees in the Finals.
The Thunder will play the Heat twice this coming season, first on Christmas Day in Miami and then in OKC on Feb. 14.