MIAMI – LeBron James was too young to appreciate NBA games showcasing Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird. He loved watching Michael Jordan play anybody and he even looked forward to seeing Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady square off.
On Wednesday night, James will be part of the NBA's current marquee matchup when he meets Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"Two great competitors who love to play the game the right way," James said. "It should be fun for the viewers."
Durant and James played against each other in the 2012 NBA Finals, but Wednesday's matchup could be one of the more entertaining of this season, given how well Durant has recently played. He's scored at least 30 points in 11 straight games, including 54 against the Golden State Warriors, and is averaging 31.3 points for the season.
James is third in the NBA in scoring, averaging 26 points with a season high of 39 against Dallas on Nov. 15. After Durant scored 46 against the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 21, James said he was so impressed that he put a Durant app on his phone to keep up with his scoring.
"It is pretty cool to see the type of groove that he is in," James said.
James recently told ESPN.com that he does "get jealous sometimes when I look over at K.D. and he's like 16 for 32 [from the field] and then 14 for 34 [at the foul line]." James took some criticism for his comment.
"I don't know how I even said it for people to take that the wrong way," James said. "But I've been accustomed to people taking the words the wrong way for like five straight years.
"I'm not jealous of Kevin Durant. I was that jealous of the fact that he was doing what he was doing. People take things so literal. I'm happy for what he is doing, and I had my time."
James has said previously that New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who scored a career-high 62 points last Saturday against the Charlotte Bobcats, is the toughest NBA player to guard. Now James says Durant and Anthony are both "right up there."
"Obviously, there are two different weight classes," James said. "But the way that they score the ball, they are two of the best scorers in our league. They're probably going to be two of the best scorers our league has ever seen.
"It's challenging going up against those guys when they're bringing the ball up in transition. In an [isolation] situation, they can both go left, they can both go right, they both can stay behind the line and make threes and they both can attack the rim."