Kevin Durant Nickname Debate: “Durantula” Vs. “Slim Reaper”

Last night, the Thunder and a red-hot Kevin Durant — still minus Russell Westbrook — defeated Western Conference rival San Antonio, 111-105. Durant had a ho-hum 36 points in the win, including two big three-pointers down the stretch to combine with Reggie Jackson career-high 27 to get the victory. But, our attention was focused on a new Durant nickname that’s sweeping the land: “Slim Reaper.”

The “Slim Reaper” was the brainchild of a particularly creative r/NBA thread on reddit after Durant went off again against Portland earlier this week. Complex picked it up, and claimed it would stick. So far, it has.

I sat pondering the new nickname as KD out-dueled Tony Parker to get OKC the win during a tough road game in San Antonio.

Even though he was 12-of-22 from the field in San Antonio, for a 54.5 percent shooting clip, it wasn’t as dastardly a performance as he turned in against Portland, or last weekend against the Dubs when he dropped a career-high.

Still, it’s obvious whatever zone Durantula* has entered, he doesn’t appear to be leaving any time soon. That’s a good thing too because LeBron James shouldn’t win a third consecutive MVP award unless he earns it. Right now, KD is in the lead, much as we hate to admit there can be such a thing as a “lead” for the MVP award before the All-Star break.

Famed Twitterer and sometime Grantland contributer, @netw3rk, said it best (as is usually the case when it comes to 140-character quips):


Still, KD was dropping three-pointers in the fourth quarter because the Thunder needed them. That’s when Daily Thunder head honcho and CBS Sports blogger, Royce Young, noticed something…


I lost it at this point. You see, I love the Durantula nickname. Ever since Scott Howard-Cooper casually dropped it in a game recap four years ago, I’ve been peppering anything I wrote about Durant with the extra two syllables needed for Durantula.

That’s why I’m so blasé about “Slim Reaper.” Sure, it’s cool, and Royce even forwarded along a nice little photoshop of the nickname (via Pixelf__ks) for us all to enjoy, but Durantula works on so many different levels.

First, it actually incorporates his name. Not that the best nicknames need to incorporate the actual names (see also: Boogie, Magic etc), but some of them do, and it should work well enough for a casual fan to ascertain who we’re all talking about.

Second, do you know anything about tarantula’s that you didn’t glean from a TBS viewing of Arachnaphobia? Probably not. Etymologically speaking, the spider to first bear the name was “Lycosa” tarantula, a species of wolf spider that is found in Europe near the Mediterranean sea.

But these bare little resemblence to the tarantula that lives on in our imaginations as part and parcel of popular culture. “Theraphosidae” tarantulas are the huge hairy creatures who almost killed James Bond in Dr. No.

Here’s the thing, though, despite their nasty reputation in popular culture, tarantula’s aren’t deadly. According to Wikipedia (I know, but still), there has never been a recorded human death due to a tarantula bite.

So does this mean an attenuated Reaper — with its Blue Oyster Cult overtones, and the personification of, capital D, Death — more accurately describes the lethal scoring prowess of one Kevin Durant?

I have to admit, it does, but Durantula works too because Kevin is still all arms and legs and elbows and just a series of appendages that fold and dip and twist to drop buckets. That’s a freaking spider, and tarantulas are the world’s most famous spider, I’d hazard to guess — if you don’t include the crime-fighting kind.

Prognosis: go ahead and use Slim Reaper. I’m no longer so vehemently opposed, even though it has no connection to his name and bares a slight resemblence to a certain hip hop alter-ego from Eight Mile. Durantula still more accurately describes the way Kevin Durant dominates his opponents. Durantula has an impossible reach where it seems like he has eight arms, but those arms move in dexterous unison to produce amazing results. Plus, Durantula’s jump shot is smoooth as the silk spun by the tarantula. I will never give up on you “Durantula,” even if everyone else already has.

UPDATE: Durant doesn’t like either as much as KD:


*See what I did there…

[Slim Reaper photoshop art created by Pixelf__ks]

What do you think?

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