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Friday, February 14th, 2014 at 9:30 am  |  98 responses

LeBron James on Kevin Durant Feeling Pressure to Win Title: ‘When I Retire’

 

by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

Kevin Durant has done everything to deflect the pressure every transcendent NBA player feels to win a championship. According to his buddy LeBron James, KD won’t truly feel it until James is out of the League.

LeBron shouldered the expectations and unrelenting scrutiny from fans and media for nearly a decade before winning his first title, and thinks it’s unfair to judge a player’s greatness solely by looking at his trophy case.

Per Bleacher Report:

“When I retire,” James said. “When I retire. They’re still talking about, am I going to win a third? You know…”

“But I think, for him, obviously he’s an unbelievable player,” James said. “And I’m one of the guys that just don’t, I don’t believe that winning a championship defines your career, you know. There’s so many greats that never won, and it’s unfortunate that they didn’t.”

“But I don’t know when he’s gonna start hearing it,” James said of his friend. “I hope he doesn’t. I don’t think he should have to go through that. What he’s been able to do for that city of Oklahoma City, what he’s been able to do for his teammates is amazing. And we’ll just see what happens with it. He’s going to be in contention every year because of the player that he is, and they’ve got a great team. And we’ll see what happens.”

Kevin Durant pays attention to the debate, but he’s not interested in engaging:

Durant is now in his seventh year, and with each passing season, the pressure to win it all will only increase (yes, even with LeBron still playing.)

It may not necessarily be fair, but it’s the way things are.

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  • LP @ThisisEther

    ….”Lebron just needs to shut up and play and disregard every single question that he’s asked” comments begiiiiiiiinnnnnn now…and GO!

  • Kobe

    Its all from the same interview, they are just releasing each answer prior bit by bit.

  • LP @ThisisEther

    I know, the Steve Smith Interview…… But I don’t think anybody else knows……

  • Dfrance

    I love the fact that LeBron is talking, and I wish Durant would quit the humble act because he’s so not humble. Respond KD!!!

  • Dfrance

    The same people that say that are the same people that complain when athletes are PC and don’t speak their mind. Can’t please everyone!

  • pposse

    KD will start feelin the pressure when he wins MVP

  • pposse

    “im one of those guys that dont believe winning a championship defines your career” – you are the ONLY guy that believes that. You play the game to win! What an absurd comment.

  • Dagger

    It’s a team game. An individual should not be judged entirely on the accomplishments of his team. Malone, Stockton, Barkley, Dominique, Nash, and others were GREAT players. Not winning a ring shouldn’t discredit their careers.

  • LouisVuittonDon

    Lol its cuz he was saying that before he got his rings and he doesnt want to flip the script now that he finally has won. It also shows how highly he regards stats

  • vINSANITY

    Right on KD

  • Busta213

    As fans, sure we think about were people rank and winning is always more fun than losing….but are the likes of Sir Charles really losers in life because they dont have rings?
    Im not saying this is Bron’s point, but I think we as fans forget there is more than one perspective. I mean, I feel like that Joe Johnson chased money over winning (and that its a travesty that hes an all star again)….but with the +$150m in contracts hes signed? His career has been wonderful for him!

  • GP

    Why? Obviously he’s aware that there is only going to be growing criticism about him not being able to win a championship. He does not share Paul George’s outspokenness, and there’s no point going back and forth about him and Lebron when Lebron has already proved himself by winning two while he has yet to win any award of significance (MVP) or a title. Lebron is on top of the world right now, so he can say whatever the hell he wants; KD is not there yet in terms of being able to speak his mind without backlash.

  • pposse

    I am sure if you ask Barkley if he would take a ring over all the accolades he achieved throughout his lifetime he would take the ring. The reality is winning is not only us as fans and spectators want to see, its what holds weight amongst athletic circles no doubt about it. I mean would Kenny Smith even have a chair at TNT if he didn’t win multiple rings? I highly doubt it.

  • pposse

    ding ding ding!

  • pposse

    Ofcourse its a team game, and ofcourse there are multiple criteria to define a career but the fact is the #1 criteria is and always will be Winning in any circle and it should be that way. No doubt about it. Whats the point of accumulating all these stats if it doesn’t contribute to a chip?
    If you go in Texas or anywhere you can still here old men 25-30 yrs outside of highschool still reliving the glory day or what could have been if player x didn’t drop the winning td or player y didn’t brick a free throw at the end.
    No one is saying that the players you mentioned were discredited, but their careers are tarnished and there is no way around it. In the case of all the players besides Nash you mentioned the only way to circumvent their failures is to give even more props to MJ and the Bulls imo.

  • Biggggg in here

    I like this new mentality KD has, dudes like super saiyan or something this year. “its just him talking” haha, take no prisoners KD

  • LakeShow

    What do you mean he’s not humble?

    I’ve heard people say this and I don’t get it.

  • Redd

    Because KD can’t possibly win before u retire..?

  • Busta213

    Sure, I get that barkley would likely trade his MVP award for a ring, but would he swap his superstar status for Kenny’s “decent player with a ring or two” status? That I seriously doubt.
    Lol, I like the edit, btw

  • jrandz

    Lebron needs to stop acting like he’s the big brother and he knows all now. Damn. “When I retire?” Those are fighting words in my opinion. Durant and Lebron need to become enemies. Stop this friend bullshit!

  • Porky

    He’s been responding by going harder than Baltimore all season.

  • Dfrance

    He’s humble in the media, says all the right things, gives all the glory to God and all that, but watch him during the game. He talks junk to everyone, he glares at opposing fans and benches, he’s cocky. And thats fine, he’s just not the boy scout that you see in interviews.

  • Anthony

    There is a duality in that though Dagger…the fact that MJ (though he didn’t do it alone) kind of “shut-out” all those great players from winning a ring through his dominance adds to MJs mystique. And yeah you also have the Robert Horry conundrum too… its just kinda how you make the arguement in that age old debate.

  • LakeShow

    Cocky???

    I think maybe we just have different perceptions of what the best basketball player on the planet should and shouldn’t act like.

    Let’s put it this way… He’s the least cocky dude in 40+ years to drop 40 – 10′s on the regular.

    I just don’t see talking a little or glaring as cocky. Especially when your game is talking more than you are.

  • JJ Jones

    Im sorry but this is conceited as he can get unless he means that hes gonna retire after to this to go play in the nfl…

  • JJ Jones

    He talks a bit more trash on the court than he does in interviews. Youre right though he isn’t mj/kobe like cocky

  • JJ Jones

    Exactly so why did he leave cleveland again if rings dont matter? Actually nevermind its f*cking cleveland

  • JJ Jones

    The all star game should be interesting lebron just keeps making these statements while kd is just talking with his game. The nba needed a new rivalry this is it for now.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol, you realize you are insinuating every player who doesn’t win a title’s career is defined by them not winning?
    .
    Yao Ming’s career? Didn’t win a title
    Charles Barkley’s career? Didn’t win a title
    Elgin Baylor? Didn’t win a title
    Patrick Ewing? Didn’t win a title
    Pete Maravich? Didn’t win a title.
    .
    Sh*t, i can define the vast majority of every player in NBA histories career so easy now! thank you for this utterly stupid comment.

  • pposse

    Fine go ahead and say that, but if thats all you got from that post coupled with the fact you known i posted on here for a lil while then you are indeed the truly ‘stupid’ one. You do realize that “never won” is literally the words that are attached to all those names besides Yao Ming right? You can try and deny it all you want but there or 1,000s upon 1,000s of articles on all those guys and them not winning it all will be mentioned in nearly every article. The vast majority of guys are players who never won it all, and its the ultimate decider on a players legacy.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “define: state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of.”

    i just listed 5 players, i can list hundreds and hundreds who never won. nobody said you don’t play the game to win. this is you taking a comment from a player you don’t like, and finding a reason not to like it. the whole idea that a players career is defined by if he won or not is so completely stupid i am ashamed that you or anyone would even insinuate such nonsense.
    .
    Charles Barkley is in the Hall of Fame right?

    Elgin Baylor is in the Hall of Fame right?

    Patrick Ewing?

    Pete Maravich?

    obviously, by the definition of “define” (state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of.), their careers were not defined by not winning a title.
    .
    To say they were is stupid.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it adds to MJ’s mystique. It doesn’t define anyone else. seriously, think about what is being said for longer than 10 seconds.

  • pposse

    im sorry do i have to state the obvious? ‘In the eyes of many, other than stat mongering pencil pushing fanboys, winning is the biggest factor in defining ones career’

  • King David

    lebron is GARBAGE

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol, the only thing that is obvious is that you think what defines Michael Jordan’s (or one player, it doesn’t matter who) career, must also define everyone else’s career. How do I make it obvious how stupid this is …..
    .
    are we all defined by how much money we make? we all have jobs, our goal is to make money, so we are all failures because we all aren’t Bill Gates…….yep, that’s not stupid.

  • Porky

    Man but you of all people surprise me for taking this position because you love the game so much. The stat mongering pencil pushing fanboys are the ones who can’t see beyond the numbers to appreciate the things in the game that aren’t calculated. Winning is the ultimate goal, but there’s so much more to it than that. Iverson is loved because he threw his whole being into the game. Didn’t win a championship but f*ck it. Same as all those other dudes.

  • Dfrance

    To me, you’re either cocky or your not cocky. The fact that his game more than backs up his posturing, doesn’t make him less cocky to me.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it doesn’t discredit their careers…..at all. i can’t believe how stupid this argument is. it’s like saying everyone’s career is defined by them not being the best….

  • pposse

    as much as I love guys like Barkley, Iverson T Mac VC i feel their pain just as much. Everyone here is fooling themselves if they don’t think all these guys don’t feel a little salty or inferior to the great winners in their generation. I have seen Barkley’s face turn plush multiple times when Shaq and Kenny Smith bring up rings on national tv, it I can’t help it i feel bad for him cause he obviously feels something when he gets extremely defensive about it.

  • Sheila Edward

    I like this new mentality KD has, dudes like super saiyan or something this year.

  • Porky

    I don’t disagree that they feel that way but I don’t think it’s a discredit to them. That’s just how the game is. Is Spolestra a better coach than Sloan or more deserving of respect/praise because he won’t championships? Of course not. That’s just how it happened.

  • Porky

    *won

  • LouisVuittonDon

    I like everything about you, goddddam you fine

  • shutup

    So 25-30 years old is now considered an old man? Your an idiot.

  • pposse

    Isnt there a saying for things like this? “To be the man you got to beat the man?” How about we look at the flip side of this..What is Bill Russell known for? 8 rings, winning! Like JJ Jones said, if winning is not the ultimate goal why Lebron switch teams? Winning is the most important goal.

    TBH money isn’t everything but i’m a competitor I want to make more money than yall, my friends everybody lol I can’t help myself. I won’t hang my head low if it doesnt happen but i’m human it won’t sit well with me.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    an aspect of a career, and what defines a career are completely different things. because Barkley wanted to win, and never did doesn’t define his career. he’s defined by his play. he’s a hall of famer. he’s not a loser. if not winning defined his career, we would call him a loser. understand?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Bill Russell has 11 rings.

    .

    “To be the man you got to beat the man?”

    that has nothing to do with defining a career.
    .
    did anyone call Barkley the GOAT? then does beating “the man” matter? no? oh, ok.
    .
    next

  • pposse

    the disconnect is when you think that just cause he aint won he is automatic loser..thats far from the truth the way I see it. If I were to play you one on one, and you beat me 9-10 in a game..the first thought i’m gonna have is ‘I lost’..second thought will be ‘i’m pissed’ and then maybe somewhere down the line I’ll be like ‘you know what its not so bad, nbk is a monster he’s the king of the hill, i played my heart out im happy the game was close’
    I’m not the one defining anyone’s career, its the players who define their own career. What would Lebron think of himself if he never won a chip? You know damn well he would have thought himself to be a loser or at the very least it would definately be one of his top thoughts about his career. This is not about what others think, its about what athletes think of themselves.

  • pposse

    25-30 yrs after hs is like 48 yrs old bruh. Take a chill pill.

  • pposse

    well its gonna define Lebrons the foolish one who said this comment above basically reneging on his parade party 4 years ago. And you know what, he deserves it. He called out 7 rings in a smooth calculated move you can’t deny it.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol

    “the disconnect is when you think that just cause he aint won he is automatic loser..thats far from the truth the way I see it.”

    so still, even after i have literally spelled it out for you, you don’t understand what “defined” means? because you are agreeing with what is being said, but just closing your eyes and bashing your head into the keyboard making points that have nothing to do with anything?
    .
    players don’t define their own careers, the media does. Michael JOrdan isn’t the greatest player of all time because he said so. seriously, think about this from a perspective that doesn’t include your opinion being right or wrong. step away from the situation, and think critically.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    they asked LeBron a question. he answered it like an idiot, but he was answering a question. There was nothing smooth or calculated about it.
    .
    and this literally proves my point. your entire stance revolves around your personal feelings for the speaker. not about what is rational.

  • Anthony

    Troll….smh

  • Porky

    Lol lonely valentines day?

  • Guest

    Don’t win a championship? That’s the brakes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6OnBSLVTUo

  • pposse

    i cant think critically? lmao man you are foolish. Everything you say you do on a regular basis

    IF you ask Barkley how you viewed your career, what will he say? Im a HOF or I didnt get a championship? Obviously a combination of both but what do you think will be on his mind more? ‘Think critically’ before you respond.
    Man you will do anything to circle the wagons. Thats cool though. Its like you saying you don’t have a favorite ball player all of it is bs and you prove it time and time again. I have irrational hate for bron? lmao okay buddy keep believing that. You have irrational love for the zeus in your world.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well, hopefully that took less than 10 seconds.

  • JJ Jones

    At interviews definitely. Basketball hell no.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I’m happy you asked what Barkley would say,

    http://valleyofthesuns.com/2011/05/28/charles-barkley-s-list/
    “Since the “no rings” argument seems to define so many great players who never could break through with a title, the Chuckster was then asked if it’s a valid criticism to say a star’s career missed something because he didn’t win a championship.

    Barkley replied, “I don’t think it’s a valid criticism for the simple fact is they only say that if you’re a really great player. They never say that to a guy who can’t play. When you look at the list you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m on the list, people think I was a great player.’ It’s a backhanded compliment to a certain degree.”
    __________________________________________________

    you want to make any other assumptions? stick your foot maybe all the way down your throat this time?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Charles Barkley: “I don’t think it’s a valid criticism for the simple fact is they only say that if you’re a really great player. They never say that to a guy who can’t play. When you look at the list you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m on the list, people think I was a great player.’ It’s a backhanded compliment to a certain degree.”

  • Porky

    You’re a troll…coming from a guy who’s trying to hit on a chick on a comment board…um

  • pposse

    you keep tryin to prove that, but you can’t cause its false. Keep up with the slander..no seriously keep it up.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you mentioned LeBron’s legacy based on comments during a press conference unprovoked. you are proving my point all on your own.

  • pposse

    on this article? Dude you can’t see it cause you can’t think critically, either that or Lebrons jock strap is so far down your throat your gonna sh*t it out. Lebron has consistently lowered the bar for himself and his fellow athlete, constantly, he is so damn PG its revolting. “Its okay KD your still great in my book if you dont win, winning is not everything, please don’t win I want to be the winner of this era, I already let Dirk take a ring for me, and Duncan was about to own me again”

  • LouisVuittonDon

    That nbk dude has probably never played competitive sports to believe such B.S. I’ve heard Charles talk about it all the time and how depressed he would get thinking he didnt win a ring and he publically acknowledged his career wasnt up to par with others simply because of it.

  • pposse

    how exactly does that question posed in the article relate to my question? All Im getting out of that article is that Barkley feels its unfair to compare just him and other great players to the ring standard if all athletes aren’t compared. Like you need to have some sort of bar minimum to receive such critisicm. He doesnt touch base on whether ALL athletes should be critisized or not for it #thinkcritical

  • LakeShow

    In my book Dirk passed Elvin Hayes, Kevin McHale, and put himself in, or just outside the top 5, with only Bob Pettit being the guy he may pass to officially put him in the top 5 when he won the chip.

    My opinion, but I think it makes sense.

    Chips mean a lot.

  • LakeShow

    Well said man.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    nobody said that them not winning shouldn’t count against them.
    .
    an aspect of his career and the definition of his career are different. how many times does this need to be repeated before you understand? nobody is arguing that it doesn’t matter that he or anyone else never won. it just is not what defines their career.

  • pposse

    it clearly does, Dirk is a prime example. I used to clown on him so much (especially after the mvp 1 and done post season) but then what I seen him do from that point onwards capped off by the miraculous finals he literally leapfrogged all types of players in the record books and in his generation. He probably has a better career than nearly everyone out of the 97 and 98 draft class as a result

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    we are talking about what defines a players career.
    .
    Barkley says ” “I don’t think it’s a valid criticism” about if it’s a valid criticism to say a star’s career missed something because he didn’t win a championship.

    .
    and somehow, you think this doesn’t disprove your notion that Barkley would literally define his career by this aspect? really?

  • pposse

    yes about “a star”. All Barkley is really saying in that article is that its not fair unless you critisize all players for not winning a ring. He views it as a “backhand” compliment. Thats why he votes for guys on the “sh*t list” i read the article, if anything and im thinking critically here he does a good job of avoiding the real issue…How do you really feel about not winning a ring, is that a major/deciding factor on your legacy?

    I mean maybe Barkley doesn’t want to talk about how he didn’t touch MJ in the finals cause MJ bought him some earrings for 20k (during that series) and he’s ashamed if it …who knows?

  • LakeShow

    The only two players that were superstars and didn’t talk on the court that I can think of were Yao and Steve Nash.

    Freaking Grant Hill use to talk smack… Ray Allen/Shane Battier talk smack. The nicest guys in the L talk smack. I call it being a competitor and elevating yourself. To you it is lack of humbleness. Agree to disagree on this one.

    Can you link me to a video btw? I’ve asked several times and no one has a clip of KD being this “cocky” dude that is proclaimed. I don’t see it.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    still my point. we aren’t even talking about LeBron. and it’s the only thing you can focus on. something LeBron said spurned this discussion, but really, he has nothing to do with our discussion.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “How do you really feel about not winning a ring, is that a major/deciding factor on your legacy”

    - that question is irrelevant…..we are talking about defining a career. again, you are talking about an aspect of one. if you want to make your point, you need to word your own hypothetical questions in a way that doesn’t prove mine.

  • pposse

    i think a player can define his or her own career. I mean would Michael Phelps be Michael Phelps if he didn’t win something like 8 gold medals? Winning is what is all about! Fans, critics, the players themselves this is the number one priority and this is how we all define the players

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Winnings helps define the career of those that won. Not every career is equal, not every career is defined by the same things.

  • pposse

    and lack of winning helps define the career of those that lost.

  • pposse

    In no way am I completely discrediting them, but I’ll put it like this..Allen Iverson and MJ were my two favorites growing up, MJ will never be forgotten but I’m afraid that there are already guys in the league that are taking up AI’s shine…in 30-40 yrs from now AI might just be all but forgotten. IF D Rose (who i think remind me a lot of AI in terms of raw athleticism ball handling and scoring) gets some championships AI takes a step back in the books.

    AS far as coaching goes, in a lot of other sports like baseball and football I would hold the coaches to similar standards as athletes, but in basketball its a 5 on 5 game and I think the measuring stick for coaching should be way different cause there is obvious talent disparity. Spo is in a lose lose situation, he sucks if he can’t get that team to multiple championships and he sucks if he can’t get that team to not only win but dominate. Coaching for bball is a complete eye test thing for me, winning does matter but nba bball is pretty predictable if you ask me. There’s not parity in it.

  • pposse

    fine fine that was out of line ..

  • Anthony

    Bill Cartwright of trolls….smh (just unnecessary)

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well that doesn’t make any sense….especially the Bill Cartwright bit

    anyway, i replied to you, trolling would be the guy that says a comment, and then starts trying to insult people because he doesn’t really have anything to add to support his opinion.

  • Jswagbo

    Compare the amount of people who have won an NBA championship to the amount of people who have won an NBA MVP. I dont think Barkley would give up and MVP for a chip. MVP is essentially(not always), you were the best basketball player in the world for a year.

  • pposse

    good point, but that MVP belonged to MJ! Barkley just borrowed it for a year, and if he really wanted to justify the MVP he should have beat the bulls in the finals. Because of that I think Barkley would have traded the MVP for that finals victory and then ask MJ for the mvp award back.

  • Busta213

    Smooth and calculated? ROFL, it was a joke made at a fan event. He also said they were going to suit up Riley and play him…I suppose youre waiting on them to deliver on that “promise” too? lol

  • Dfrance

    I can agree to disagree. It’s more than just talking a little smack tho. Unfortunately, I cannot produce video evidence, but next time the Thunder are on national TV I’ma look out. lol

  • The Seed

    KD, finally showing Fire this whole season. Lebron is trying to punk KD and KD fell into it, being his buddy in the off season to play with him. Now Lebron see’s KD coming and he is trying to knock him down. KD please don’t work out with Lebron anymore. KD’s time is coming and Paul George’s. Lebron talking like he can’t lose, get a few chips, get bold. LOL

  • Biggggg in here

    truth

  • 2chainz

    Championships enhance career achievements but does not define them entirely.

  • Lloyd

    I think you have to separate the on-court stuff though. These guys are professional competitors. When they compete, they talk trash. I see talking trash as a way to get fired up and provides motivation to win. It’s part of the game I think. I rarely see KD jawing at someone after the buzzer sounds, or taking shots at them in the media do you?

    KD knows he’s one of the best. When he’s off the court, not being clouded by his competitive spirit, he definitely doesn’t act like it. That’s humility to me. I mean his biggest “beef” was over him saying his friend was better than another player haha.

  • JJ Jones

    Kd imo has already surpassed him. Literally the only real argument people have for lbj right now is that because RAY ALLEN hit a hail mary 3 james is better lol. But like pposse said people value winning above all else so of course people are quick to write kd off. Paul george lol he hasn’t proven to he at a superstar level yet. Maybe someday but not today

  • AQWORD

    absurd is your anger towards the dude

  • AQWORD

    i think this is brain crawfish in discuise

  • AQWORD

    stop hatin dikfa(e !

  • AQWORD

    you sir are a V.C. of this thread Vaginal Cavity !! lol

  • Shooting Guard

    The point lebron is trying to make is simple.

    Robert Horry’s trophy case compared to Karl Malone’s

  • Fitzy

    i love these topics that promote a debate between the SLAM board heavy weights. some good reading material, that’s why I come to SLAMonline.

  • C.M.G

    He had alot to say about dwade this summer, but when LEBRON says something all of a sudden he’s comatose lol…..

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