It’s hard not to love Damian Lillard. The Blazers point guard might’ve gotten left out of an All-Star berth in Toronto, but his overachieving team in Portland would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, and he’s a sneaky pick to crack the top five in MVP voting because of how well his team’s responded to losing four of last year’s starters over the summer.
He’s also one of the most talented rhymers in the Association, so he knows the power of words better than most. That’s why it wasn’t very surprising when he spoke up after SportsCenter host Cari Champion brazenly insulted Kevin Durant because he “doesn’t have as much heart.”
During the segment embedded above, SportsCenter hosts David Lloyd and Cari Champion picked the top five players to build a team around today. Here’s who they picked.
Then ESPN had NBA analyst Chris Broussard come over to critique the picks. Broussard might be a laughingstock to all the basketball experts on Twitter, but he actually knows a thing or two about the NBA. He wasn’t too pleased by Durant’s exclusion from both top-five lists, especially considering KD’s impending free agency that’ll dominate team building in July, and his age (just 27 years old, or just entering his prime). The 2014 MVP should have been near the top of both lists. As Broussard launched into his critique, here’s how Champion interjected:
“Kevin Durant doesn’t have as much heart. He doesn’t have heart. Kevin Durant doesn’t have a lot of heart. He just doesn’t.”
That’s just wrong and misguided and totally subjective. Champion is an ESPN personality, and everyone knows that Stephen A. Smith and the bouffant buffoon known as Skip Bayless have a tendency to make outrageous and unsubstantiated claims on the air to spur discussion and drive ratings. But ESPN is still supposed to be a news organization, and Champion used rhetoric with zero basis in reality and absolutely no supporting facts. It was a subjective opinion and a pretty dumb one at that. Durant rose from a pretty awful section of Mt. Pleasant, Maryland in the D.C. suburbs to become one of the best players in the world. He played for an NBA title before he turned 25. We can’t think of many other people on the planet with more heart.