Kevin Durant may be listed at 6-foot-9, but anyone who’s seen him on the court knows he’s taller than that. Allen Iverson was listed at 6-flat, but he could only hit that on the tape measure if he was standing on his tip-toes. Fudging your height is a tradition that goes back generations of NBA players, but it largely remains unspoken. Even in today’s age of unprecedented access between fans and players, the veil remains up in certain areas. But Durant finally dropped the veil on his own height while speaking to the Wall Street Journal.
After letting it slip on the record to Chris Herring that he’s 6-foot-11, KD opened up about why public records don’t reflect reality — and it has to do with the increasingly outdated nature of positions on the floor.
“But really, I’ve always thought it was cool to say I’m a 6-9 small forward,” he said. “Really, that’s the prototypical size for a small forward. Anything taller than that, and they’ll start saying, ‘Ah, he’s a power forward.’ ”
When Durant came into the league, that might have been true, but the nature of the game is changing. Draymond Green is a power forward who’s listed at 6-foot-7 (but he’s probably 6-foot-6), and that size deficiency is what caused him to fall to the second round of the draft. Now, he’s played significant minutes at center in each of the last two seasons, and he’s leading the charge of players who determine their position with skills, not size.
Take Giannis Antetokounmpo, who might still be growing at 6-foot-11. He’s now the point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks, a concept that would have seemed ludicrous 10 years ago — and he has no plans to downplay his height to fit his position (which was something between small forward and power forward until the switch). Maybe this will embolden Durant to live his truth — but it won’t prevent little guys like JJ Barea from getting their numbers juiced by their team’s media guide.
“I remember laughing when they said, ‘6 feet,’ because me and about 20,000 other people in the arena knew that was a lie,” Barea said to the WSJ. “I’m 5-foot-10 on a good day.”
*UPDATE: Here’s Durant standing next to DeMarcous Cousins
(Via Wall Street Journal)