But if you watched Jordan play, really watched him play, and remember what it felt like to watch him play, it wasn’t the awards and championships that defined him so much as what he did to earn them; how he was always as good as he had to be, whatever that had to look like.
He could score, defend, distribute and go get it. Because he wasn’t going to let his team lose, he would do all of those things or some of those things. He would do what’s required.
Sound like anybody?
What Durant has done since 2013 became 2014 has been Jordanesque like that.
Night after night, Durant’s been the best player on the floor. Yet, more than that, he’s the best player on the floor in the ways he must be the best to win the game, and that’s a different thing entirely.
Against Miami, Durant won that little end-of-third-quarter duel over James, signaling both sides quite clearly who’d be winning.
Against Atlanta two nights earlier, he hit the game’s two biggest shots and scored 37 other points, too.
Against Philly, two nights before that, it was a triple double and the Thunder rolled.
Against San Antonio three nights earlier, 36 points and seven rebounds were countered by 11 turnovers. But all that means is the night he proved he was human, he still had 36 points and seven rebounds.
The day before, it was 46 points to beat Portland, pushing the Thunder atop the Western Conference.
Four nights earlier it was 54 points against Golden State because beating the Warriors required 54 points.
Durant’s become must-see TV not because the Thunder are on a winning streak, but because who knows what he’ll do next to keep them on that winning streak. And when was the last time that happened?