Rip City, close your eyes. This one’s not for you.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James said that he and everyone in the league knew Kevin Durant was destined for greatness even before the 2007 NBA Draft, where the Seattle SuperSonics took the Texas product No. 2 overall.
Of course, the story of that draft was Greg Oden vs. Durant, and the Portland Trail Blazers fatefully selected Oden No. 1 overall. In a decision that mirrored the Sam Bowie vs. Michael Jordan decision from 1984, Portland wound up missing on an all-time great, instead finding themselves stuck with an oft-injured big man.
LeBron, joking and pushing the envelope a little further on Durant, continued on to say everyone knew Durant was going to be great, save for the Blazers.
The sting of that decision hasn’t fully subsided for Portland, although having Damian Lillard helps. We all know the story those Blazers, one that includes not just Oden’s knees but Brandon Roy’s as well.
If we can back up for a minute, the push for Durant was strong in the Rose City, by the way. Oden was not the consensus pick, not by a long shot, and there was even a well-written blog started by now-Sports Illustrated writer Ben Golliver called DraftKevinDurant. Still, history is history and Portland has been on the wrong side of it too many times.
Portland still wants LeBron to come to the Rose City, which is unlikely to happen. Meanwhile, as Durant continues to play for championship contenders it’s hard for Blazers fans to let the scars heal when guys like LeBron are still knocking you some 11 years later.