Durant: People want me to hate LeBron

From summer training sessions to hyped-up flag football games, it’s obvious Kevin Durant and LeBron James are great friends.

The two have never hidden their friendship from the public, even during the most tense of times — like last year’s NBA Finals.

But in the world of sports today that centers on TMZ-worthy escapades as much as it does box scores, it seems fans and media would rather see a tense rivalry between two competitors than a bond between them.

That fact is not lost on Durant.

“People want us to hate each other so bad, that’s true,” Durant told The Daily Oklahoman. “People want us to hate each other. I really respect him and I really compete against him hard — him and Kobe (Bryant).”

When James won the Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year” award, he credited Durant as the person that pushes him to be the best he can be. The two have used social media over the last couple of seasons to capture their friendship and hard work that has turned them into the cream of the crop in the NBA.

“I play against those guys; they’re the guys who I’m looking at, who I want to get to, and I compete against those guy really, really hard, but we’re friends,” Durant said. “We’re friends and everybody knows that.”

Durant and James are only following the path first laid by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird that friends off the court — despite theirs beginning as merely an on-court rivalry — can be fierce competitors on it.  Luckily for us, the friendly rivalry between James and Durant has many more seasons ahead of it.