Skip Bayless believes Kevin Durant saved Steph Curry’s legacy, destroyed LeBron James’ and now may help save Chris Paul’s career.On "Skip and Shannon: Undisputed," Bayless said:
“He not only saved Steph’s legacy … Kevin Durant also wrecked LeBron James’ legacy. ... He wrecked LeBron James’ legacy. He left it in ruins. It was like smoking rubble. LeBron had it, then he didn’t have it.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers made history by being the first team – and still only one – to overcome a 3-1 deficit in an NBA Finals. The victory over defending champion Golden State, with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, in 2016 wrote a large page in LeBron’s legacy.
Even so, Bayless believes Durant managed to destroy James' icon status in the following years. In the process, Curry added championships three and four to his ledger.
If Durant joins the Phoenix Suns, the analyst said the Slim Reaper could do the same for Paul, while again taking away from LeBron's legacy. James, of course, hopes to gather another championship before he walks away from the game. But if KD can help Paul to one first, he will diminish James' chances of another title greatly.
Analyst claims Kevin Durant wrecked LeBron James’ legacy
When Kevin Durant joined the Warriors and helped Golden State to back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018, Bayless believes LeBron James’ legacy dropped.
But did it?
“Are we going to forget OKC? What LeBron did to him?” analyst Shannon Sharpe said.
James already had three championships before KD joined the Warriors in 2016. Before that, regardless of how elite Durant was, James held the greatest legacy in basketball at the time.
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“LeBron was the best player on the planet, and Kevin destroyed him back-to-back games. … He was the (Finals) MVP.”
Sharpe argued that it took the company of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green for Durant to take down James. Thus, to Sharpe, James’ legacy has yet to be tarnished. It took Durant, one of the most elite shooters in history, to join two more of the league's best shooters and Green to topple James.
Sharpe questioned KD’s success after leaving the Warriors:
“What does Kevin Durant have to show since he left Golden State?”
Since Durant joined the Brooklyn Nets in 2019, however, he hasn't made any strides towards taking down James’ legacy again. James led the LA Lakers to the 2020 title and Curry won his fourth championship last season, while Durant's Brooklyn experiment flopped.
It looks like Durant’s legacy is being tarnished more than LeBron’s. It takes more than two championships on a super team to tarnish the career of one of the greatest to ever do it.
Bayless, meanwhile, looks for reasons to denounce James, and this argument seems like yet another attempt.
Both James and Durant have significant careers and continue to play at elite levels. Both are to be celebrated as some of the greatest, and the healthy competition of their legacies lifts each other higher more than they do tear one another down.