Culture of Hoops

Why is LeBron James jealous of Kevin Durant?

Image courtesy of Erik Daniel Drost/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Erik Daniel Drost/Flickr.

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James is the best player in the world. He has won back to back NBA championships and four MVPs. For a man with as many accolades as the King, you would think other players in the league would be jealous of him. But on Wednesday, LeBron admitted that sometimes he gets jealous of a fellow superstar: Kevin Durant.

Why, you ask?

Because Durant averages more shot attempts than him.

As crazy as this sounds, this is what James said in an interview with Tom Haberstroh of

This season, LeBron is averaging a modest 16.1 shot attempts per game and is shooting 59.1 percent from the field. Durant is averaging 19.2 attempts per game while shooting a very solid 48.8 percent from the field. But despite the shot attempts, LeBron is still one of the top scorers in the league, as he averages 25.9 points per game. Durant is the top scorer in the league, averaging 29.8 points per game.

So with all that in mind, should LeBron be jealous of Kevin Durant?

The short answer: absolutely not.

Let’s start with this: LeBron is LeBron, which basically means that he can take as many shots per game as he wants. He has just as much leeway, if not more, as Durant to attempt 20 or more shots per game. Even though Mario Chalmers is the point guard for the Heat, James does a majority of the ball handling, and he can take it upon himself at any time to have an aggressive mindset when it comes to scoring. Nobody on the Heat would look at him any differently if he attempted a few more shots per game. But ultimately, LeBron’s game is predicated on being a playmaker, and in Miami, there are plenty of players to make plays for.

Another thing that has to be taken into consideration is the fact that James does not have to take a lot of shots per game because of the team he plays for. Durant is currently playing without his wingman Russell Westbrook, so the onus falls on him to put up more points because the Oklahoma City Thunder need him to. Even with Westbrook, Durant is still responsible for being a big scorer because most of the team is made up of hustle and role players. In Miami, LeBron has Dwyane Wade, who when healthy can still drop 20 a night (his season average is 19.2 points per game), as well as Chris Bosh (15.7 points per game), and a host of shooters on the perimeter. So there is no real need for him to take a lot of shots per game because there are so many options in Miami, which is not the case in Oklahoma City.

The final reason that LeBron should not be jealous of Durant is because when resumes are compared, right now, there still is no comparison. KD has yet to win a title (LeBron won his first by defeating Durant and the Thunder) and Durant has yet to win an MVP (he has finished second behind LeBron before). Durant is indeed a great player, but most people would argue that if anyone should be jealous, it should be Durant of LeBron and not the other way around.


Honestly, LeBron was probably engaging in hyperbole when he spoke of jealousy of his friend and foe KD, but if he is legitimately jealous, he should not be.

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