Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant, who is now at 10,517 career points after scoring 36 in the Thunder's 114-108 victory over the Lakers Friday night, remembers growing up and watching Kobe Bryant dominate.
“I didn't really get to see a lot of Jordan in his prime,” said Durant, who then playfully took a jab at Bryant. “But seeing Kobe, I know he's an old fart.”
Durant continued, saying: “Since I was about 8 years old, I've watched him dominate,” Durant said of Bryant. “Every year he's been in the league, he's been a joy to watch and it was just an honor and a blessing to play on his team this summer in the Olympics. To get 30,000 points, man … it's just an unbelievable accomplishment.
“It's good to say you played in a game with a great player, probably the best player in my era that I've ever seen. It's great to have somebody to kind of aim to and look up to and just compete against on a high level. I'm looking forward to playing against him (Friday). It's going to be fun.”
According to Ric Bucher of CSNBayArea.com, both Durant and teammate Russell Westbrook are motivated to do well against Bryant and the Lakers because of all the smack talk Bryant laid on them during the Olympics.
source says the Black Mamba talked relentless smack during the Olympics that the Thunder stars weren't going back to the Finals after the Lakers acquired Steve Nash and then added Dwight Howard right before the U.S. played Spain for the gold medal. Kobe also made a point of guarding Westbrook during practices and pumping him up, the theory being that he wanted to incite Russ to bump heads with KD over who the team's best player is. (If you think that's too conspiratorial to be real, you don't know Kobe.) KD, in particular, got tired of hearing him. For what it's worth: KD and Westbrook's combined 69 points is the highest single-game total they've posted this season.