KD really thought he'd become the new face of the NBA once he bested LeBron James in the 2017 Finals.
According to information obtained by Ethan Strauss of The Athletic, Kevin Durant wholeheartedly believed he'd done enough to surpass LeBron James as the best player in the NBA following his triumph in the 2017 NBA Finals, for which he won series' MVP honours. The editorial piece goes onto describe a difference in perception amongst casual NBA fans.
While Kevin Durant may have won the 2017 NBA Finals MVP Awards, it was LeBron James who put in the more demonstrative performance by averaging a triple-double over the series. And yet, that's not how Kevin Durant viewed himself vis-à-vis the rest of the league, and more importantly the preeminent King James. In fact, when the Warriors bested the Cavs in a 4-game sweep, the general ledger still favoured LeBron James as the league's best player going into 2019.
Strauss's piece for The Athletic stresses the optics of a team game, in relation to a "silent star" growing frustrated due to a lack of league-wide recognition. Several NBA players have suffered a similar case of overshadowing: Magic Johnson obscuring the brilliance of Isiah Thomas, Kobe Bryant over Tracy McGrady, and to some degree, Michael Jordan over Larry Bird, even though their career peaks never overlapped. Has KD ever had a case to be regarded as the NBA's Best, even for a short stretch of time?