At this point, there is little question that LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the league's best players. While an argument can be made on Dwight Howard's behalf, his constant off-court drama has become a drag on the player in totality—or at least on the perception of his play.
So the battle for "face of the league" is between LeBron and KD.
Durant certainly has the higher approval rating, as he rarely makes a social misstep. He seems to have that effortless kind of PR that is simultaneously savvy and unintentional. Obviously, James has a more fraught public image due to "The Decision" that momentarily offended a sports-loving nation.
Though LeBron lacks Kevin's approval rating, he outpaces KD's fame.
In this hyper-critical social media era, the face of the league might as well be somewhat hated. That LeBron evokes negativity does not preclude his status as a league symbol—so long as he's great, he's an ambassador for the NBA. The same goes for Durant's angelic status.
The battle for "face of the league" will likely be settled on the court over the next few years.
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