LeBron James has blasted rival Kevin Durant after the Warriors star labelled the environment surrounding “The King” as “toxic”.
Speaking in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, the Lakers star admitted he was “pissed off” at the two-time NBA champion.
“I was a little pissed off when I first heard it, to be honest,” James revealed. “I didn’t know where it stemmed from. … I was asked later on that night after our game, and I didn’t want to comment because I didn’t see it, I didn’t hear (it). … I started uninterrupted for a reason, and I know how sound bites can be chopped and diced and things of that nature, so I wanted to get the whole layout of what actually happened.”
James said he got a phone call from Durant, who was adamant his comments were blown out of proportion in the media.
“He felt the story took a twist, and as a man, I don’t hold on to things too long. I’m too happy in my life right now, and I don’t hold on to anything that will take away from my happiness,” LeBron said.
Durant hit out against the culture surrounding the superstar James, who, as Durant describes, has too many “fanboys”.
“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people,” Durant said earlier in December. “He has so many fanboys in the media … writers just fawn over him. I’m like, we’re playing basketball here, and it’s not even about basketball at certain points.
“So I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic. Especially when the attention is bulls**t attention, fluff. It’s not LeBron’s fault at all; it’s just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word. Just get out of the way and let us play basketball.”
LeBron will makes his 13th Christmas appearance Wednesday when his Los Angeles Lakers visit Durant’s Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors-Lakers contest is part of the league’s five-game holiday slate, which also includes Milwaukee at New York, Philadelphia at Boston, Oklahoma City at Houston and Portland at Utah.
James will match the second-most Christmas appearances in NBA history with retired stars Shaquille O’Neal, Earl Monroe and Dolph Schayes plus former Miami and Cleveland teammate Dwyane Wade, although ex-Lakers guard Kobe Bryant owns the record of 16 games played on December 25.