Kevin Durant on LeBron James' 'Inspiring' Play for Lakers: 'I Can Do That S--t Too'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 30, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks to Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors during a timeout in the first half at Staples Center on April 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

Add Kevin Durant to the list of people impressed by the continued excellence of LeBron James.

"It's inspiring to see," he said on his The ETCs podcast (h/t Erik Slater of Clutch Points). "As a competitor, it's like, man f--k that, I can do that s--t too. But then it's like, dang he's in year 20, he's 38 years old. ... Man, salute to that."

James continues to astound, averaging 30.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.1 assists and a steal per game while shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 31.2 percent from three. It's a tribute to his longevity that his current scoring average would be the second highest of his career if it holds.

No surprise, then, that he led all players in All-Star voting with 7,418,116 votes.

Durant, 34, isn't wrong when he says that he can match the type of numbers James is posting. The Brooklyn Nets star is putting up 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.5 blocks per game, shooting 55.9 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from three.

Durant was second in the Eastern Conference All-Star voting with 6,525,199 votes.

James has always been considered the better all-around player, given his excellent playmaking, but Durant may be the most effortless and versatile scorer in NBA history. Both are first-ballot Hall of Famers and NBA legends.

It also says something about the current level of play in the NBA that James is only sixth in the league in scoring this season despite being over 30 points per game, trailing Joel Embiid (33.8 PPG), Luka Doncic (33 PPG), Giannis Antetokounmpo (31.7 PPG), Jayson Tatum (31.1 PPG) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (30.9 PPG).

Embiid and Gilgeous-Alexander won't even be starting in the All-Star Game. Durant, meanwhile, is eighth in the NBA in scoring.

Before those festivities, James (38,271 points) will almost assuredly set another incredible milestone, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) as the NBA's all-time leading scorer in the regular season.

Add it to the list of achievements James can point to in the inevitable GOAT debates. Wherever people fall in those conversations, there's no doubt that current NBA players like Durant have immense respect for James' continued excellence.