Jay Williams is a ubiquitous presence on ESPN’s morning programming. He’s one of the hosts of ESPN Radio’s morning show, Keyshawn, JWill, and Zubin, and makes frequent appearances on Get Up!
That means there are lots of opportunities to double-dip when it comes to analysis, takes, and stories, and we got a great example of the car wash of takes on Tuesday morning. Unsurprisingly, one of the lead topics of the day was the Brooklyn Nets dominating the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2, winning by 39 points to take a 2-0 series lead to Milwaukee. Kevin Durant was magnificent once again, leading all scorers with 32 points, including a few moments where he took Giannis Antetokounmpo one-on-one and gave him the business.
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) June 8, 2021
Williams decided to tell a story about how one time he called Giannis, physically, something akin to if Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant had a baby, praising what the Greek Freak is capable of as a ball-handler and physical presence. According to Williams — who told this story on both shows — that led to KD confronting him about it at a holiday party to tell him to never compare him to Giannis again. Williams believes this indicates that Durant has something personal to prove in this matchup against Giannis.
This, of course, quickly began making the rounds, and for most athletes, they wouldn’t respond quickly. But this is Kevin Durant, who is very aware of what’s happening online, and within an hour or two, he had ripped Williams for telling a “f*ckin lie” in Instagram comments and then expanded on that to torch Williams on Twitter and ask to be left out of all legacy and “who’s better” conversations, calling it “corny ass talk.”
Mans will do anything to advance their careers in this media shit, wanting to be accepted by an industry that will dispose of you whenever they please. Keep me out all that corny ass talk about whos better and legacy and all that dumb ass shit. I don’t even talk like that
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) June 8, 2021
It’s quite possible this conversation really did happen but that Williams took it as some big thing (and is embellishing it for the good of television), where KD was simply saying “I don’t like being compared to guys” on a general scale — something he stresses here — and not saying he has some issue with Giannis. That seems more likely than Williams flat out making things up, but it does point to an interesting dynamic with former players turned media. Former players do often have relationships with the guys they cover and have plenty of stories and conversations that are had as friends, not as athlete talking to media, and when they don’t have the right filter for what stories should be told on TV and what need to remain just for them, they can find themselves in awkward situations — just see the Shannon Sharpe-Julio Jones situation.
In this case, Williams seems to have struck a nerve with Durant, as he’s been pitted against players before in beefs and seems to want to avoid that going forward. KD called out Williams for trying to use him to advance his career, effectively reminding him that the media business is a fickle one and he should be careful about burning bridges to try and make good TV, because ESPN will one day kick him to the curb.