Tough for Kevin Durant to Be LeBron James’ Olympic Teammate After NBA Finals

by July 11, 2012

The NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat still stings Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who are now teammates with the man who stood between them and an NBA title not too long ago: LeBron James. Per the AP: “Durant admits it bothers him coming to the gym and seeing James every day. ‘It does. It does, but what can I do?’ Durant said Tuesday. ‘He’s my teammate now. I’m a team player. I can’t let that affect this. This is bigger than that. It’s tough to lose in the Finals and play the guy you’ve been going up against for five games who beat you. So me, I’m just going to get over it, still be a great teammate, come out and play hard.’ Kobe Bryant was in Durant’s shoes four years ago, having to shake off the disappointment of a Finals loss to the Boston Celtics and get back out on the court for the Olympics. He said it’s normal to not want to play for a few days, but figures Durant has had enough time to get over it by now. ‘But then again, I wasn’t playing on the Olympic team with, you know, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and Garnett,’ Bryant said. ‘He’s got to look at LeBron every day. I didn’t have to do that. So I don’t know if I could do that. I’d probably be trying to destroy him every single day in practice to try to, I don’t know, take a little of the edge off maybe.’ […]  ‘Being the friends thing, I mean that’s fine,’ Bryant said. ‘Once you start playing, I’d really have to go after him. There’s just no way.’ […] Their individual dual created the hype around the Finals. All that matters now is their ability to mesh. ‘It is tough, man, because we just come off a great Finals,’ James said. ‘Our matchup was one of the most profiled matchups in league history, so it’s tough. But at the same time, we understand what we’re here for. We’re going to use our talents, we’re going to use what we know we can do to try to help this team win gold.'”