LeBron James paid Kevin Durant the ultimate tribute before the two superstars squared off Thursday night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. According to LeBron, Durant can surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the greatest scorer in the history of the sport.
LeBron reckons that Durant’s skill set and physical attributes make for the most dangerous combination in the 70-year history of the league. “He’s a 7-footer with 6-foot ballhandling skills and a jump shot. And athleticism. It’s never been done in our league. Never had a guy that’s 7 foot, can jump like that, can shoot like that, handle the ball like that. So it sets him apart,” the four-time MVP said Thursday morning after a Cavaliers shootaround.
Durant is listed at 6-foot-9 but does boast of an amazing 7-4 wingspan. When it comes to all-time scoring average, James’ 27.32 (ranked fourth) is slightly better than Durant’s 27.31 (ranked fifth).
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kobe Bryant (32,844) sit atop the list of NBA’s all-time great scorers. Both Durant and LeBron will need to play many more years to catch up with the mentioned legends.
“His (Durant’s) ability to score the ball is obviously up there with the greatest to ever play. I know that’s not in his memory bank right now, him trying to help the team get better and better, but long term he definitely can challenge that,” James said of Durant’s game.
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LeBron James said he missed the marquee matchups against Durant last season. Remember, Durant was out most of last season with persisting foot injuries.
“You guys know me – I’ve always loved playing against the best, the best guys in our league, but it’s never about that. That’s more of a fan perspective.”
“Fans like to see those matchups. I mean, I like to compete against the best teams, and they’re one of the best teams. That’s what means more to me than anything,” James said ahead of Thursday night’s blockbuster showdown.