I don’t want to write about Kevin Durant anymore.
I really, really don’t. Even after he acrimoniously left Oklahoma City in 2016’s free agency to play for the team that he choked against in that year’s Western Conference Finals, we still give him coverage, because he still does stupid and petty things and we still kinda don’t like him.
After he chose to flee the Warriors to sign with the Brooklyn Nets this summer, I was truly ready to just forgive him and move along. He got what he wanted (two NBA championships), and found out that maybe he wasn’t any happier playing on a superteam that made things absurdly easy for him to get those rings. It was in a weird way like LeBron going back to Cleveland in the sense that he was perhaps seeking a challenge with a team that has been historically awful since the beginning of time.
And then Durant did an interview for the Wall Street Journal, which was published yesterday. I read the whole thing and it was so goddamn boring, mostly just the writer following KD around his Beverly Hills mansion while he moped and rehabbed. To save you from reading all of it, here are the relevant highlights from WSJ:
At his first game in Oklahoma City as a visitor—February 2017—fans yowled for blood and brandished cupcakes, because Durant was supposedly soft. “Such a venomous toxic feeling when I walked into that arena,” he says. “And just the organization, the trainers and equipment managers, those dudes is pissed off at me? Ain’t talking to me? I’m like, Yo, this is where we going with this? Because I left a team and went to play with another team?”
Leaving in free agency is one thing. We were collectively prepared as a city for him to leave that summer, or at least I was. He could have gone to literally any other team than the Warriors (or maybe the Spurs), and I think most of the fanbase could look past it…
“He’s going to the Celtics? That makes sense. They’re a storied franchise with a solid young core. Thanks for everything, KD. Good luck bringing another title to Beantown.”
But he went to the one goddamn team that could have pissed everyone off, and is still absolutely oblivious as to why fans would be mad.
His mother recalls one particularly appalling piece of video: a Thunder fan firing bullets into a No. 35 jersey. Bullets—after she and Durant and half his extended family relocated to Oklahoma, after they embraced the community, after Durant gave a million dollars to tornado victims.
I remember seeing a lot of vitriol at the time, jersey burnings and all that, but somehow this one never came to my attention. Sadly, it does exist:
I know tone deaf, oblivious to optics Okies love their guns, but I will agree that a pretty scary and fucked up thing to do.
“I’ll never be attached to that city again because of that,” Durant says. “I eventually wanted to come back to that city and be part of that community and organization, but I don’t trust nobody there. That shit must have been fake, what they was doing. The organization, the GM, I ain’t talked to none of those people, even had a nice exchange with those people, since I left.”
That’s weird, because last year Mr. Two Face literally said the opposite thing:
“Those people really mean a lot to me to this day,” he says. “No matter if they talk to me or they’re mad at me. Whether it’s Sam Presti or Troy Weaver or Russell Westbrook or Nick Collison. Whether it’s Wilson Taylor or Clay Bennett and his family, I love them from the bottom of my heart. We’re not talking, but eventually we will.
I can’t recall another recent professional athlete who has had such a hard time controlling his own narrative, especially when they are as guarded as Kevin Durant is. He started out as the quiet and humble guy who showed up to post-game scrums with his backpack and bible, then tried to brand himself as ‘Not Nice,’ gave himself the worst nickname in sports (The Servant), pledged his love and devotion to OKC, bailed out to go win some chips, then bailed on that team after a terrible achilles injury to go play with another insufferable player, Kyrie Irving, in Brooklyn.
He’s long been considered ‘an enigma’ by fans and sportswriters, but I think the truth is that he’s just insecure. He wants to have this veneer of a man who shuts off the opinions of the outside world and does whatever he wants, but deep down just wants to be loved. That’s not a criticism, hell, that’s just human and how most of us live and feel. But most of us don’t delve into perverse acts like creating burner Twitter accounts.
I still respect what Kevin Durant did in Oklahoma City, and what he’s doing for the game. The guy’s a future legend, and after he retires and all is said and done, we’re gonna be happy to have seen him play in Oklahoma City and tell stories to our grandkids and all that. But in the meantime, I’m just exhausted thinking about him. I don’t want to write about Kevin Durant anymore