Kevin Durant Thinks He's NBA's Top Star, Names His Favorite Players Ever

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2014

Getty Images

If Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant ever had to pony up the cash to watch an NBA player in person, he'd spend it to see...Kevin Durant.

That was one of many musings he shared during his 38-minute media session at All-Star weekend.

He can't escape the chatter regarding his placement on basketball's hierarchy, but he's never wavered in the belief that he belongs on top.

John Raoux/Associated Press

"I’ve always felt that I was," he said, via Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. "I had confidence in myself. I’ll just say that. Everybody else around always thought of me as No. 2, but I always had confidence.”

Confidence is obviously a major key to enjoying a professional sports career. With millions vying for one of some 400-plus spots, the slightest bit of self-doubt can burst a dream as quickly as a poor work ethic or a broken jump shot.

But wasn't Durant the one who told Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins that he was "tired of being second" last season?

Alan Diaz/Associated Press

Well, yes and no.

"I think people got that No. 2 thing a little confused," he explained, via Mayberry. "What I was saying is that I was really No. 2; drafted, I was No. 2 in the MVP voting, I was No. 2 in high school...I wasn’t saying I think I’m the No. 2 player in the world."

Right, that's only what the "experts" were saying. So, now that those experts have somewhat turned the tide back in his favor, can he take any gratification in that?

"No. Because just like it didn’t matter when they said I was the No. 2 player in the NBA, it doesn’t matter now," he said, via Mayberry. "That doesn’t float my boat."

So, what does keep the Durant yacht afloat? Apparently, video-game stat lines do the trick:

Well, that and slow, white teammates. That last trinket surfaced when Durant had to choose two players, one past and one present, to suit up with in a hypothetical 3-on-3 tournament:

From the past I’ll pick Larry Bird. And I’d go with another slow white guy. I’d pick Dirk. They’re my favorite players. Dirk’s my favorite player to watch. I’ll take those two. I could facilitate. Being the more athletic one, I could facilitate. And you can’t help off either one of those guys because it’s going down. The shot is going in. So I like our chances.

How's that for a collection of sharpshooters? If this tournament did ever take place, it would not be the first time those three players have enjoyed each other's company:

Incredibly, not one—including Durant himself—made KD's Mount Rushmore of snipers, a group headlined by Stephen Curry, who KD called "the best shooter ever."

"I would say Reggie Miller. Curry. Ray Allen. Mark Price," Durant said, via Mayberry.

Something special feels like it's brewing here, doesn't it? I mean, these are a lot of questions and answers without a single mention of four-time MVP LeBron James.

It wouldn't last. James' name eventually crept into the conversation, much to Durant's chagrin.

Durant slotted his sickness of discussing the four-time MVP at "25" on a scale of one to 10. "You should really focus on how good LeBron James is and the growth that I have as a player," he said, via Mayberry. "In our world, you want to compare everything...But just sit back and enjoy basketball that's being played."

That's something none of us should have a hard time doing.

The quality of play in today's NBA is astounding.

Durant and James have played major roles in setting that standard, but so have the players that surrounded them at All-Star weekend, the snubs who narrowly missed the call and the supporting casts who help fortify playoff positions and strengthen championship pursuits.

Put it all together, and the end result is magnificent.

Subjectively, we may differ on our opinions of which players belong atop the basketball world. Objectively, though, there's no denying how incredible that world really is.