Amnon Free Press
It’s almost as if he’s doing it on purpose. Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth. And he’s done it again.
In a sit down with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Durant gave the public additional ammo to get on his case:
I wasn’t expecting to be a happy human being from a title. I was just expecting like, you know, the ending of a movie — once you’ve worked so hard and everybody tells you like, ‘Yo, this is what you need to be working for, is this gold ball and these rings.’ And I’m just like, ‘All right, cool, let me lock in on that.’ And I locked in on wanting to achieve that, but I also realized it’s a lot of stuff that factors in it that’s out of my control.
And once I won a championship (with Golden State), I realized that, like, my view on this game is really about development. Like, how good can I be? It’s not about, you know, let’s go get this championship. I appreciate that stuff and I want to experience that stuff, but it’s not the end-all, be-all of why I play the game.
Playing basketball isn’t about winning championships? In fact, it’s about personal development? Ridiculous.
We worship athletes who put everything on the line in order to win. Michael Jordan’s maniacal drive to win was legendary. The same can be said for the late Kobe Bryant. Even LeBron James, who draws the ire of many in his pursuit of Jordan’s six championships, has a borderline obsession with winning.
We often forget that “fans” stands for “fanatics.” We’d like to think, if given the opportunity, we’d “Be Like Mike.” Everything would be poured into winning championships if we were able to play at the highest level.
And we expect the same from athletes.
The fans often care more about their teams than the players do. They spend thousands of dollars a year on tickets, jerseys, and TV subscriptions. It’s an obsession. Unhealthy? Sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that fans expect the players to want to win as much as they do.
For years, Durant hasn’t been able to grasp why he’s met with indignation from so many. He still has trouble understanding why many refuse to give him full credit for his two championships with the Warriors.
Durant’s public perception issues began when he made his free-agency decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and joined the record setting Golden State Warriors in 2016, a move widely viewed as taking the easy way out. While with the Warriors, his relationship with the media was quite rocky at times.
Durant has long been known for his unique relationship with the media and fans. He’s been caught using “burner” accounts on Twitter and he has no qualms about getting into social media beefs with the fans. In March, Durant had a back and forth with actor and basketball critic Michael Rapaport on Instagram. It got so bad that Durant challenged Rapaport to meet him in person.
I receive threats and disgusting messages DAILY, but never in my wildest dreams did I think @KDTrey5 would be among them. The 🐍 himself is now threatening me, bringing up my wife and wants to fight. This is supposed to be America’s sweetheart right? #ImDaRealMVP pic.twitter.com/l1VQfGMMRF
— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) March 30, 2021
While Durant later apologized for the exchange, it was yet another example of his sensitivity to criticism.
While every NBA player has different reasons for playing, and Durant is certainly entitled to have his own form of motivation, the public is also entitled to have issues with those reasons.
While we should have an understanding of how difficult it is to be a public figure, it’s hard to cut Durant much slack when he’s constantly putting his foot in his mouth.
Winning isn’t the ultimate goal? That’s fine, but don’t expect the stance to sit well with the fans.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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