Leave it to Skip Bayless to land on Kevin Durant's bad side.
Is that even possible?
In a day and age when a little civility seems like a step in the right direction, of course Bayless would rather it resemble the bombastic drivel he exchanges with Stephen A. Smith in rant after rant of faux indignation.
Durant is once again working out with James this summer, meaning the two guys who claimed 109 of the total 121 first-place MVP votes are actually helping make one another better.
Bayless could have responded by drawing any number of absurd conclusions, but he picked the most predictable one:
Wake up @kdtrey5. You let LeBron play in Finals comfort zone G2-5 b/c you like/respect him so much. Must get in his head, under his skin.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 11, 2012
If averaging nearly 31 points per game on 55 percent shooting is being too nice, I'd hate to see what Durant's savage alter ego could do.
Maybe he'll get really angry and go Hulk on him.
Of course, this is just Bayless once again hijacking the usually meaningful world of hoops "intangibles" and turning it into his own fire-breathing remix of Dr. Phil advice. Who need subject himself to an episode of Real Housewives when you can just watch Skip Bayless prove utter stupidity translates into lucrative television?
If Durant took Bayless' advice, he'd have fouled out in three of those NBA Finals losses. As it was, he wound up with five personal fouls in each those games.
But who needs a reasonable explanation for Durant's hands-off defense when you can just chalk it up to speculative psycho-babble?
And never mind that James is stronger than Durant and a master of exploiting physical play while getting calls to go his way.
These explanations make too much sense!
More importantly, Durant and James worked together in the summer of 2011 as well, and it seemed to work out pretty well for both of them.
When you're playing at this kind of level, it's hard to find a peer group. Most of the players who even begin to rival them in talent are point guards like Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo.
If you're a 6'8" all-world, MVP-caliber swingman, who's going to make you better right now?
This routine is a no-brainer for James and Durant, and guys like Bayless just can't accept that the NBA isn't cultivating another Bird-Magic feud. Without that kind of nonsense, Skip might actually have to talk about basketball for once instead of explaining how the Mavericks titled in 2011 on account of being hungrier.
So when there isn't a story to be told, you make one happen with your Twitter account these days or use an on-screen soap box to start stirring up trouble.
We should be happy that a rivalry has turned out to be so cordial. We should want to see the same things when our kids are competing, and the notion that two beloved superstars are actually modeling this kind of sportsmanship is refreshing.
When Skip was averaging 1.4 points a game as a high school senior, we can only assume it was because he wasn't being enough of a jerk—if such a thing is even conceivable.
Or, maybe we can start rewarding an emergent NBA classiness by giving it some overdue credit instead of tearing it down—even if it doesn't make for quite the same ratings.