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Keeping your Friends Close and your Enemies Closer

I know that basketball season is over, but an issue recently came up that I wanted to shed some light on. As you know, Lebron James and Kevin Durant trained together last off season. They are good friends and they used the lockout to get some good workouts in. Each workout was documented on video to show these two high profile athletes getting ready for the season. Their hard work paid off as they met in the NBA Finals! During the Finals, some sports analyst made a point that Lebron was getting the best of Kevin Durant because he brought him into the friend zone and took advantage of him. Durant had some off games and some thought his killer instinct wasn't there like Lebron's new found one.

As we know, Lebron eventually went on to finally win an NBA Championship over his buddy Durant. Durant was heartbroken but we all know that he will be back, especially with all the young talent on his team. Then to make matters worse for Durant immediately after, him and Lebron became teammates on the USA Basketball team in the Olympics. The entire summer he had to play with and be around the person that beat him in the NBA Championship. Now to Durant, it isn’t a big deal because he says doesn’t let his friendship with Lebron affect the way he is on the court, which is understandable. However, Durant is not like Kobe or Carmelo, who are good friends with Lebron but their killer instinct allow them to be ruthless against Lebron on the court. So should Durant’s fans be concerned? Some people handle competition different. Durant just plays the game straight up no matter who he plays, but someone like Kobe will try to take you out of the game in order to win.

This whole issue continues to be brought up to Durant that he let Lebron take advantage of him. Some of it is warranted but most is just over the top. However, Durant continues to be around the man that dethroned him on the court and is working out with him again this summer. At first, I thought nothing of it, but then as I listened to analyst (including First Take) talking about the issue, I began to realize the psychological effect this could have on his game from Lebron and from sports journalist continuing to bring it up. Granted I know some of what they say is over the top, but athletes do fall victim to mind game traps and outside chatter.

Lebron James: “Just finished a great workout with Kevin Durant On court work, ran the hill and finished running the football field. #StriveforGreatness”

Lebron and Durant continuing to work out could be a detriment to Durant, but only if Durant doesn’t show up on the court. The reason I say it affects Durant is because Lebron already has his ring, now he is looking for another. These two guys are the top players in the league and they will battle for years. They are both striving for greatness. Actually, I believe them working out together is great for both parties! If you think about it, the workouts they did last year got them to the championship and allowed them to have a great season! Why not go back to it? Also, them being around each other a lot will force them to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  So they are getting insight on how to beat each other! It is the classic rule of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. And for those of you who actually believe Durant is letting Lebron get inside his head and being nice in order to beat him, I say Durant is a fierce competitor himself, and each year his team has gotten better and so has he. Durant is quiet but he is an assassin, and didn’t people  tell you to watch out for the quiet ones!?!

I commend Durant for being able to be around Lebron so much after losing to him. And I believe Durant knows exactly what he is doing. People may think Lebron is taking advantage of Durant, but I say they are taking advantage of each other. It’s never been done before (two high profile basketball rivals training with each other) but why not create a new tradition! They can be friends and competitors at the same time, there is no harm in that. By them working out together, they have the inside track on how to shut each other down. It’s up to them to execute the game plan when the time arises.

So let’s not overreact to Durant working out with Lebron once again. Everyone gets prepared for their season in different ways. This may be their new way. Football players train with each other all the time so it can be done. We will see who comes on top this upcoming season between the two, but for now the strategy of keeping your enemies close is working for both sides so get off their back.

On another note, speaking about working out to get ready for the season, I am excited to see this guy come back:

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