Former NBA player Jamal Crawford talked about comparing Kevin Durant and LeBron James while making an appearance on the Club Shay Shay podcast. More specifically, Jamal Crawford touched upon LeBron’s decision to join Miami Heat big three back in 2010 had on the rest of the NBA and how teams are assembled. Nowadays, it’s completely normal that superstar players join forces to win the championship, which most recently KD did when joining Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets. They also added James Harden and a few other players, but that specific trend started with LeBron a decade ago, and he single-handedly changed the landscape of the league.
Crawford argues that LeBron’s decision brought a lot of hate his way that is still present today because he joined two other top 10 players in the NBA when they teamed up in Miami.
That brought a lot of hate and a lot of love for going back home, but I think the Miami thing is when the hate really started if you go back and think about it. That is when the hate started because you had Wade, who was a top 10 player at the time, you had Bosh, who was a top 10 player, and now you have the best player at the time.Jamal Crawford, via Club Shay Shay
Even though the Nets pretty much did the same thing this year when they added Harden, the difference is that they still haven’t won anything. That is the main reason why LeBron received so much hate, especially after they won their first championship because that was the ultimate proof he needs two additional all-star players to win. They also brought up the Boston Celtics big three; however, the difference is that they were all in their 30s with not a lot of window of opportunity to win multiple championships. The Miami Heat, on the other hand, were all in their mid to late 20s when they joined forces, which was perceived totally different by many.
They haven’t won a championship either because if they win it, the hate might come potentially. I think because, at the time when LeBron did it, he was the first of his kind to do it that way. Because when Boston did it, they were in their mid-30s. They did it on their primes.Jamal Crawford, via Club Shay Shay
Durant, on the other hand, did almost the same thing when he joined the Warriors. He received tremendous amounts of hate because he decided to join a team that beat them after leading 3-1 in the playoff series. Crawford concludes Durant’s move was almost as equally as bad as LeBron’s but argues we shouldn’t judge players by the number of championships they won.
He had the 3-1, but it’s all the same, but I don’t really care about it because now it’s not good since we are judging players by championships.Jamal Crawford, via Club Shay Shay
It’s tough to measure which player receives more hate, but the truth is that both LeBron and KD changed the way players perceive teaming up with other great players. It seems it became more acceptable, and now we see this more than ever where we have players actively lobbying to get more all-star help which doesn’t sit well with the fans. The NBA community still feels nostalgic for the times when the best players would rather beat other great players instead of joining them.
The reality is that those times are long gone, and players nowadays understand there are much easier routes to a championship, and we’ll be able to see if the Nets experiment will work. No matter what happens, KD is now receiving more hate than LeBron simply because of how he is handling media attention. Fans are already trying to diminish the success he had with the Warriors, and potentially the success Nets will have this season if they end up winning a title.