It started with Derrick Rose crowning himself the league’s best player, and some people took that as a slight to LeBron James and his back-to-back reign as MVP. Yet, Rose’s stance was understandable. There’s no player in the NBA who should feel like he isn’t No. 1, even if he truly knows that his only spot on the team is at the edge of the bench.
Two months later, the next slap came courtesy of Kevin Durant’s response to a Sports Illustrated ranking of the top 10 players in the league.
“I think you’re missing on James Harden,” Durant told CineSport.com. When asked which player his old Oklahoma City Thunder teammate should replace, Durant replied with a stone face: “Dwyane Wade.”
Again, that’s understandable because Durant is talking about the present, not the past. And in the present, Harden has become a scoring machine, while Wade has ended the last two seasons pretty injury-prone. Which put him in a spot to be aimed at.
However, those two injury-prone seasons ended with two Heat titles and Wade often putting the team on his shoulders — including in 2012 when he averaged 22.6 points on a bad knee against Durant and the Thunder to win the NBA Finals.
Those were the same Finals where Harden went MIA in Miami and Oklahoma City, and the Thunder fell in a five-game sweep. Yes, a five-game sweep (OKC won the first game, only to be swept in the final four).
Maybe Durant didn’t remember that when he posted “show me don’t tweet me” in response to D-Wade’s “Note to self: Make him respect your place in history… again…” He also probably didn’t notice that it was a picture on Instagram so, technically, he did show him.
Either way, this is great promotion for the upcoming season. It’s like their Gatorade nightmare commercial came to life and they began motivating each other, even though some believe that the beef is just free advertising for the sports drink.
Most of us look at this as a breath of fresh air — a throwback to a time when stars were less worried about being friendly or cordial and more concerned with stepping on the court and dominating their opponents. Plus, this can be seen as good motivation for a slimmer, trimmer, Tim Grover-trained Wade. It’s just a shame that the Heat and Thunder don’t play until late January.
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