For years, fans and personalities in the basketball world have been captivated by the talent of LeBron James. If recent comments from Kevin Durant are to be believed, players could be less infatuated and more frustrated by James’ incredible ability to lead any team on a deep run into the NBA playoffs.
During his legendary career, James has reached the NBA Finals ten times and won the championship four times. His continued success has raised the bar for other elite talent to imitate and replicate his performances for their own teams, increasing the pressure and level of scrutiny on stars across the league.
A remarkable stat shows James’ unbelievable record.
Players can often lead teams in any statistical category, be it points, rebounds or assists, but few do so on a regular basis. In fact, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon have made it a total of 45 times in postseason encounters.
However, James has managed the feat an amazing 75 times – and he’s certainly done it in the regular season throughout his career. The stats show how the 37-year-old was often left without real help during key playoff contests.
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Ultimately, James Durant’s achievements have created the biggest problem he’ll face in Brooklyn — expectation. Aside from his time in Miami, James’ immense ability to carry teams throughout his career and lead them to the NBA Finals has meant that many now expect every great player to be of the same standard now.
However, Durant cannot do it to the same extent as James. Perhaps no one can consider the four-time NBA champion’s unique combination of height, athleticism and technical ability – and it seems the Nets star knows it.
“When I said you expect them to win because of me … that’s how I feel because your expectations of these guys and the team are a lot higher because you look at the name, not the team,” Durant said in his boardroom recent Bleacher Report interviews.
His comments show how Durant feels the burden of expectation that comes with being a historically great player. It is natural; Most players – even the biggest Superstars – struggle to live up to expectations.
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But James is on another level, superior even to other superstars. Even with his current stint with the Los Angeles Lakers firmly in the twilight of his career, James delivered a championship in 2020 while averaging 30.3 points per competition in 2021-22 – just behind champion Joel Embiid’s 30.6 .
As his Lakers struggle, James’ struggles with nagging injuries appear to be hampering his ability to carry Los Angeles. Brooklyn’s organizational dysfunction is certainly affecting Durant, but the 2014 MVP — as well as the rest of the NBA’s top talent — will feel the pressure should the Nets end the season outside of the playoff spots.
Durant should be honored by the pressure of wearing it as a badge of honor or crown, kept only for the great. No wonder the king feels most comfortable in such a garment.