Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/13/12

For Heat forward LeBron James, this NBA Finals meeting with Thunder forward Kevin Durant has practically seemed inevitable, based on their friendship and their standing in the league.

"Our relationship has been growing since he was in high school, all the way through Texas and all his years in the NBA," James said of taking Durant under his wing before the Thunder, behind Durant's 36 points, won Tuesday night's opening game of the NBA Finals 105-94.

Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday.

"For me, I understood what the situation he was getting himself into being drafted as high as he was, and the things that came with being drafted to a team that needed a marquee player or a superstar."

James said he felt it only right to assist the way veterans had assisted him during his climb.

"You know, from day one, I always lent my hand out to guide him if he needed it, to help him, to mentor him if he needed it through anything, and that's on and off the floor, because to that point I've seen everything, and I'm still learning but I've seen everything on and off the floor," James said.

From there, a bond was forged.

"Our relationship is really good," James said. "Our relationship is going to continue to grow, and I'm happy to be in this position where I can compete against him."

As for bragging rights, James said those will take care of themselves.

"I don't really get involved in the (talk about who's the) best player in the game," James said. "It doesn't matter to me, really. When I go out on the basketball court each and every night, I want to be the best player in the game. I want to be the best player on that floor, and that's just how I approach the game."

James said there is a natural evolution in the game that takes care of itself.

"So I don't really care what people say at the end of this series, if K.D. or LeBron is the best player in the league," he said. "It has to happen at some point anyways. I won't be the best player in the league, K.D. will be, and then K.D. won't be the best player in the league at some point. It happens all the time.

"It doesn't really matter, so I don't care."

Although the two came together more often than not in Game 1, James actually opened defensively on Kendrick Perkins, and Shane Battier drew the defensive assignment of trying to stop Durant. Durant, by contrast, was the primary defender on James when Durant was on the court.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Derrick Rose is touring NBA playoff games as a fan this postseason

Kristaps Porzingis: I want to stay with Knicks, but winning is most important

ESPN and NFL Network agree to not tip draft picks again this year

Montreal Canadiens have nobody to blame but themselves for early playoff exit

Joe Mixon pegged as best player in the draft by NFL executive

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

The Utah Jazz mascot may have concussed a dude during a timeout bubble-racing game

Jimmy Butler rips Marcus Smart in post-Game 4 interview: ‘He’s not about that life’

New NHL record set as 18 first round games require overtime

Fred Hoiberg rips officials, says Isaiah Thomas allowed to carry ball

Derrick Rose hangs out with Bulls owner at playoff game

WATCH: Robin Lopez unties, then reties Jae Crowder’s shoe in strange sequence

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB (and that's just the injuries)

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

25 times Mother Nature disrupted sports

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

Box Score 4/20: When Westbrook isn't enough

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

White House championship visits over the years

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: David Fizdale calls B.S.

Kris Bryant can become the next Derek Jeter — and more

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker