LeBron James Was ‘Pissed Off’ Over Kevin Durant Saying His Teams Can Have A ‘Toxic’ Environment

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LeBron James and Kevin Durant will face off against one another on Christmas Day for the first time since James moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles. The Lakers will travel north to Oakland, with the two-time defending champions playing hosts to their division rival, featuring the individual who has stood between them and a title in each of the last four years.

Before the game tips off, Rachel Nichols of ESPN sat down with James. In addition to discussing James recruiting players to Los Angeles and why he thinks that’ll be easier than it was to try and convince players to come to Cleveland, Nichols asked James about comments Durant made about being his teammate earlier this month.

“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people,” Durant told Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. “He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I’m like, we’re playing basketball here, and it’s not even about basketball at certain points. So I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic. Especially when the attention is bullshit attention, fluff. It’s not LeBron’s fault at all; it’s just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word. Just get out of the way and let us play basketball.”

It’s easy to see what Durant was saying here — being teammates with James can be tough because of the media — but it’s also easy to see how this comes off as a bit of a shot at James because calling an environment “toxic” is not exactly a compliment. As the Lakers star explained to Nichols, while he and Durant eventually spoke on the phone about it and all is good, he was not happy when he read this.

I was a little pissed off when I first heard it — to be honest. I didn’t know where it stemmed from. So I was pissed, my family was pissed, and my friends were pissed. We just didn’t know why, at this point and time in the season, my name or what I’ve done in my career was kind of talked about like that. I don’t feel like it’s ever been toxic around me. And when I hear “toxic,” I automatically thought, “toxic” is like you don’t wanna be around that because it’s almost like a fatal disease.

But got a phone call from KD. We talked about it. He mentioned how he felt and how he felt the story took a twist. And as a man, I don’t hold on to things too long. I’m too happy in my life right now, and I don’t hold on to anything that will take away from my happiness.

It sounds like this can more or less be chalked up to a big misunderstanding, as James summed it all up by saying “he told me how he felt, and he apologized on how it came out. And I said, all right.” Still, in the event there are any lingering bad feelings on James’ side of things, he’ll have a chance to let off some steam on Tuesday night.