Diego Maradona was one of the biggest competitors in soccer history. The late Argentine icon gave his all whenever he stepped foot on the pitch. He was a genius with the ball on his feet but he didn’t hesitate to call people out whenever he felt like it.
That said, he also recognized good sportsmanship when he saw it and that’s what happened after the 2017 NBA Finals. At the time, Kevin Durant and LeBron James faced each other in the big series for the second time (2012).
Durant took revenge on LeBron, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games with his Golden State Warriors, becoming an NBA champion for the first time in his career. KD and James’ rivalry was one of the biggest stories that season in the NBA but contrary to what many people believed, their relationship was very good and they showed that after the series finished.
Diego Maradona celebrates LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s sportsmanship
When the series was over and Durant could finally call himself an NBA champion, LeBron James looked for him and hugged him in one of the most overrated moments in the history of the Finals.
Last year, during an interview with “Líbero”, Maradona reflected on that moment, praising the two players for doing what they did even after one had demolished the other. Diego was a big leader and this didn’t go unnoticed for him.
"What I liked the most was the hug between LeBron James and Kevin Durant, which everybody but me ignored,” Diego said. “The dude (James) lost the ring, the rival was celebrating being a champion and like a gentleman, he went there and hugged Durant like a brother. That stuck in my head.”
That’s something that not everybody gives the credit that it deserved. Many people believed LeBron and Durant hated each other and the truth is that they are actually very good friends. That hug meant more than a simple one and Diego was able to notice that.
All those comments will be missed, just like him. The world lost one of the biggest and most influential sportsmen of all time and this loss will be very hard to forget or overcome.