I'm a little obsessed with Kevin Durant right now. I can't lie. And if you're like most basketball fans you probably are, too. He's six feet eleven inches of basketball dominance packed into the humblest NBA superstar we've seen since Magic Johnson.
Kevin Durant is the league's newest chosen one, and he is making a name for himself as the anti-LeBron James, the yin to his yang, the polar opposite of the Ohio-born player with the Michael Jordan skills who was supposed to save the league.
LeBron was heralded as the second coming of Michael Jordan, the guy who was destined to swoop in and change the game, knocking Kobe Bryant from supremacy and racking up championship after championship along the way.
And James has many similar qualities to Bryant and Jordan. He's a phenomenal player. He was born with gifts that were destined to send him to NBA stardom. And he is a leader.
But at the same time he has a knack for choking that has no place in the Jordan-Bryant paradigm -- it's a wonder he can close a door. The Miami Heat star has no championship rings despite being 27 and having come straight to the NBA from high school. Like Jordan, he is an insufferable, pompous jerk. The Decision was one of the most embarrassing moments in NBA history, and his repeated claims that he's on the way to multiple championships alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami are looking sadder and sadder every day.
More likely, we are entering the age of Kevin Durant. Durant also has some similarities to Jordan and Bryant. He is a natural baller, and has a physique made for basketball. Kobe even described Durant as himself, only five inches taller. Durant has a tireless work ethic, and he's been signed to a massive Nike contract.
But he also shares key aspects of Jordan and Bryant's styles that LeBron will likely never be able to learn. He is a monster closer, turning the intensity up in the fourth quarter when it counts, and dismantling teams one by one without losing his cool.
And he has one great strength that has been lacking in every NBA superstar since 1990. That special something is the fact that he is humble beyond all comprehension, hugging his mother at every home game and refusing to even really define his goals, sticking with a plan of constantly improving, not comparing himself to legends and lusting after rings in interviews and boasts.
That humility combines with the hunger he has to win, and the young, stellar players he has backing him on the Oklahoma City Thunder -- Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kendrick Perkins etc. -- to create a man who actually is on his way to multiple championships.
But he wouldn't tell you that. He won't show off about the fact that he is the three-time scoring champion, and that he came in second only to LeBron James in the MVP voting this year, despite the fact that James has had several more years to hone his craft.
Kevin Durant is the truth, he is a role model for young NBA fans, and he makes it all even better by not throwing it in your face. He's going places.