Maybe Kevin Durant really is not nice. The reigning MVP took his public campaign of brashly antagonizing the media to a whole other level on All-Star Saturday.
Here’s a downright contentious Durant via Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:
“You guys really don’t know (expletive),” Durant told reporters in his final interview session before Sunday’s All-Star Game.
Durant was later asked what stories he would like the media to focus on more.
“To be honest, man, I’m only here talking to y’all because I have to,” Durant said. “So I really don’t care. Y’all not my friends. You’re going to write what you want to write. You’re going to love us one day and hate us the next. That’s a part of it. So I just learn how to deal with y’all.”
These seemingly incendiary comments aren’t necessarily surprising. More and more star players have voiced opposition to media in recent years, and that movement of negativity has finally reached its zenith.
Whether it’s Russell Westbrook’s single-phrase session or DeMarcus Cousins’ recent remarks on Charles Barkley, basketball’s younger stars are pulling no punches when it comes to frustration gleaned from coverage of their careers – and Durant has been leading the fight.
Though we obviously and selfishly wish that KD and company would be as pleasurable and forthright with media as possible, there’s another edge to this sword.
Not only are professional athletes fully entitled to keep their relationships with reporters strictly professional, but they should also be afforded leeway the general public is when it comes to a personal affront. Durant doesn’t have to be the media’s friend and his place in the public eye doesn’t mean he can’t chastise those who lambast him. NBA stars, remember, are human, too.
As long as Durant continues to abide by league-mandated media availability stipulations, we’ve got no qualms with his increasing hostility – especially if it often comes between bits of humility and thoughtful conversation.
But there’s also legitimacy to thinking players owe a portion of their fame and success to the journalists they so often seem to despise. Would Nike have really dubbed Durant “The Badd35t” if not for the hundreds of glowing stories scribed by media members that made him seem anything but? Would his historically unparalleled combination of production and efficiency be common knowledge among casual fans if analysts didn’t promote it with aplomb?
The fact is Durant needs the media nearly as much as the media needs him. Does that mean he should bow down to reporters in appreciation for his trophies and millions? Of course not – Durant, after all, is the one creating news. And as long as basketball fans across the globe continue to crave it, it’s pertinent reporters remember that despite his growing animosity.