Dwyane Wade to Maxim: “During the finals, it seemed like you and LeBron were having a style contest with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of the Thunder. Who do you think won? It wasn’t even close. We’re way better dressers than they are. I dunno. Even LeBron seemed to think those “Dwayne Wayne” glasses went a bit far. I was holding that in my back pocket for a while. I’ve been called Dwayne Wayne so many times over the years, and we were all going heavy with the glasses, so I thought I would really shut it down.”
Ben Golliver of CBSSports.com on James Harden who is ranked the 29th best player in the NBA: “One of the league’s fastest-rising stars, it’s conceivable that James Harden could have been even higher on this list had he not had such a disastrous 2012 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. Harden took home the 2012 Sixth Man of the Year award for his big-time scoring and playmaking ability off the bench. An excellent complement to Russell Westbrook, Harden can take over ball-handling duties when necessary and got to the free-throw line six times a game last season. Throw in a career-best 39.0 shooting percent from deep and you’re looking at an offensive efficiency monster. Harden made the cut for USA Basketball’s London Olympics team, too, winning a gold medal in the process. What better way to erase the sting of a Finals that saw him average 12.4 points on 37.5 percent shooting? As good as this year was, the future is even brighter. Harden is in line for a max contract extension — although the Thunder would love it if he sacrificed some dough for the good of their luxury tax cause — and a lengthy run of All-Star Game appearances. It’s certainly possible that he finds himself cracking the top 20 of this list within a year or two.”
“The Picker” of the Tulsa World: “Becoming friends with a chief opponent? The one who just beat you out of a title? That’s an absurd thing to do. The great players have never been friends with number one foes. You don’t have to hate somebody to compete intensely against his or her team. But disliking an opponent to a high degree is about where you want to be. Do you think any of the best Celtics or Lakers were buddy-buddy with the ones they wanted to stomp into the woodwork? You can’t run over good friends.” All together now: Larry and Magic, Magic and Larry.
Golliver on Russell Westbrook, who is sixth: “Is this too high for Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook? A case of “too much, too soon” for a 23-year-old with a high turnover rate and occasional problems controlling his temper? The case against Westbrook got harder, if not impossible, to make in 2011-12, as he helped propel a young and dangerous Thunder team all the way to the Finals. Was it “too much too soon” when he put up 29 points and 28 points to place the defending champion Mavericks in an 0-2 hole from which they wouldn’t escape? Was it “too much too soon” when the Lakers had absolutely no way to defend him, especially when he went off for 37 points in a ferocious Game 4? Was it “too much too soon” when he kept his wits about him against the Spurs, fighting out of an 0-2 deficit to score 23 points, dish 12 assists, grab four rebounds and snare four steals in a decisive Game 5 victory? Was it “too much too soon” when he valiantly put it all on the line against the Heat in the Finals, putting up 43 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a Game 4 loss that sealed his team’s fate?”