While the thought of playing with Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is appealing to some, it’s not as dreamy of an idea to other NBA players.
One of the league’s premier superstars, Kevin Durant, said that all the attention James receives creates an environment that is “toxic,” per Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report.
“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people,” Durant said. “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.”
James, 33, is the best basketball player in the world. Despite being in his 16th season, the forward is putting up 27.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. In addition, James has gone to the NBA Finals for eight consecutive years, meaning he’s played the most minutes and games of any NBA player for a majority of the last decade.
With that type of continued dominance, there’s no doubt James is going to command a ton of attention. Although most of it is good, the low points are wildly broadcast for the world to see. As a result, negativity often rears its ugly head around James, as everyone witnessed during his infamous “Decision,” his multiple coaching changes over the years and his ugly NBA Finals defeats.
Although James may be used to the constant pressure, media and negativity, it can be quite the burden for his teammates to handle as Durant pointed out. The two former MVPs are good friends and have faced each other in the NBA Finals three times with two different teams respectively. Both stars are accustomed to the high-level intensity it requires to be among the best in the league.
While James will be missing, Durant and the Golden State Warriors take on the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night at 7 p.m. EST.