Nearly a month after crowning the Miami Heat as the top team in basketball, Durant admits to being bothered by playing with James as the two prepare for the London Olympics.
“It does. It does, but what can I do?” Durant said Tuesday. “He’s my teammate now. I’m a team player. I can’t let that affect this. This is bigger than that.”
“It’s tough to lose in the Finals and play the guy you’ve been going up against for five games who beat you. So me, I’m just going to get over it, still be a great teammate, come out and play hard.”
Fellow teammate Kobe Bryant said he can [almost] relate to Durant’s pain; Bryant immediately began preparing for the Beijing Olympics after his Finals loss to the Boston Celtics in 2008.
“But then again, I wasn’t playing on the Olympic team with, you know, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett,” Bryant said. “He’s got to look at LeBron every day. I didn’t have to do that. So I don’t know if I could do that. I’d probably be trying to destroy him every single day in practice to try to , I don’t know, take a little of the edge off maybe.”
James said he can understand Durant’s frustrations but believes their collective talents will help this year’s Olympic team win the ultimate title.
“It would bother me, it would bother anyone that you lose to someone in the Finals, where everyone’s competing at the highest level and you want to win and then you have to team up with them not too long, not too far removed from the games,” James said.
He added, “Our match up was one of the most profiled matchups in league history, so it’s tough. But at the same time, we understand what we’re here for. We’re going to use our talents, we’re going to use what we know we can do to try to help this team win gold.”
The 2012 Men’s Olympic Basketball team open the Games with France on July 29.