Kevin Durant apparently wants to be seen as the best player in the world. The public's unwillingness to see him as such is reportedly among the reasons Durant could leave the Golden State Warriors this summer.
Ethan Strauss of The Athletic reported Durant "believed" defeating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals would have allowed him to usurp James as the de facto best player in basketball.
Of course, that did not happen. James put together a Herculean effort in defeat, becoming the first player to average a triple-double in an NBA Finals. And while Durant won the Finals MVP honors, most viewed James as the best player in the series.
Durant won his second Finals MVP against James' Cavaliers last season, but again no changing of the guard happened.
A 10-time All-Star and 2014 league MVP, Durant has never been seen as the best player in basketball. He's spoken openly about his desire to move out of the "second-place" mantle, but there have even been questions about whether he's the best player on his own team since signing with Golden State.
Durant's frustrations are understandable. He's already one of the best 15 players to ever play basketball. It's fair to argue that he's the most unique scoring threat the game has ever seen—a 7-foot sharpshooter who creates off the dribble with a quick first step and can finish at the rim with the game's best.
There are just objective facts of life. James is inarguably one of the five greatest players ever and is probably one of the two best; he's the only player of this generation who has any GOAT argument. There are a lot of all-time greats who never got the chance to be the best player in the NBA because they played at the same time as Michael Jordan.
A lot of the same things can be said about Durant's teammate, Stephen Curry, an all-time great who has never been better than James.
Now 30 years old with LeBron seemingly starting his decline in Los Angles, Durant needs to consider his options if he wants that recognition. His window near the top is closing, and he likely won't get the individual recognition he reportedly craves with Golden State.