This would never happen in the old days. Imagine Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain training together. Or Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Or Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas. Just would not happen. Back then, which was not that long ago, competitors did their own thing.
Not today. LeBron James, who won his first NBA championship in June over Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder, is enduring so-called “Hell Week” with none other than his top competition from the Western Conference, Durant.
For the second consecutive off-season James and Durant are enduring grueling two-a-day workouts near James’ hometown in Akron, Ohio.
Last year the two dubbed the process “hell week” and credited it with helping them start on a path to facing each other in last June’s Finals.
“We pushed each other every day,” James said about last year’s workouts. “At the time, I envisioned us getting to (the Finals) against each other.”
After their workout Tuesday, the two each took to Twitter to comment.
“Just finished a great workout with @KDTrey5. On court work, ran the hill and finished running the football field. #StriveforGreatness,” read a message on James’ Twitter account.
Durant’s account said: “I got better today! That’s all that matters!! Move em.”
Durant and James bonded during the NBA lockout last summer, playing in charity exhibition games. Durant then asked James to work out together and the two created an intense training camp-style schedule with James’ trainer, Mike Mancias.
They developed a friendly rivalry during the workouts and later organized a flag football game at the University of Akron, with the two recruiting teams to play against each other.
This summer, just a couple weeks after the Heat beat the Thunder in the Finals, James and Durant played on Team USA together for the first time and won a gold medal in London.
Seems Lebron James would have his teammates there working out to get better and not an opponent. Somewhere, the old guys are shaking their heads.