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When casual fans think of the best player currently in the NBA they usually pick either Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. It's easy to see why. Both of those players have won championships and are born leaders.
Bryant has five championships in seven trips to the NBA Finals. James finally got his first in three tries last June.
Michael Jordan recently picked Bryant over James because in his mind winning more rings is the easiest way to measure greatness and Kobe agreed.
"I don't understand what the big hype [is]. It's real. It's real talk. I mean, we're in it to win championships, period," Bryant said on SiriusXM's "Off the Dribble" recently. "When I was growing up, [Shaquille O'Neal] and myself, we were both measured by championships," said Bryant. "For us it was championship or bust. It wasn't about MVPs, it wasn't about numbers. It was about, if you don't win a championship this year, you're a failure."
So does the talk about the best player in the NBA exclude Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder? The 6'9 All-Star doesn't have a ring, but he has led the Thunder to a championship series in 2012, where the Miami Heat beat them 4 games to 1.
Although he doesn't have a ring yet, Durant does have all the other intangibles to at least be in the conversation as one of the best players, if not the best in the NBA.
Since entering the league 5 years ago out of the University of Texas, Durant has won Rookie of the Year, made All-NBA First Team three times, is the seventh player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring three consecutive seasons, is a 4-time All-Star, won the All-Star game MVP in 2012 and as a member of the U.S. national teams won gold medals in the 2010 World Championship and the 2012 London Olympics.
His career averages are 26.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.1 apg and 1.3 spg.
Durant recently sat down with ESPN's Magic Johnson to talk about his friendship with LeBron what it will take for the Thunder to win its first NBA championship.