"I don't really care [about the matchup]. I don't really get involved in [who is] the best player in the game," said James, a three-time league MVP. "It doesn't matter to me, really. When I go out on the basketball court each and every night, I want to be the best player in the game. I want to be the best player on that floor, and that's just how I approach the game."
This duel will draw all the headlines no matter how hard James and Durant try to downplay it. They are generally considered the league's best, with James getting by Durant for regular-season most valuable player honors.
The victor here can instantly lay claim to the title of the game's top player while also hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time. James is playing in the Finals for the third time, while Durant is making his debut.
Fans have to go back to the 1992 Finals to see a pair of perimeter players square off for the championship. That was when Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls past Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers. Before that, it was the Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers battling Larry Bird's Boston Celtics.
Now, it's the players who go by the nicknames "King James" and "Durantula."
"I'm hyped to see that matchup," Thunder center Kendrick Perkins said. "Both of them are unbelievable talents, both are playing the same position going head up."
The beauty of it is James and Durant have been close acquaintances for the past several years, a friendship that started when Durant was in high school. They held workouts together in James' hometown of Akron, Ohio, and competed in a flag football game during the lockout that was broadcast live on the Internet.
"I always lent my hand out to guide him if he needed it, to help him, to mentor him if he needed it through anything," James said. "Our relationship is really good. Our relationship is going to continue to grow, and I'm happy to be in this position where I can compete against him."