Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant clapped back at ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith over talk about his legacy. Smith said that if the Nets don’t win a championship and the Warriors do, KD will be remembered more for leaving Steph Curry and the Warriors to team up with the unreliable Kyrie Irving. KD saw the clip on Twitter and responded as only he does.
Steve, since u decided to use ESPN to push your personal agendas, I’m sure your minions will run with this story for you, but if u believe this is what my career is defined by then you just a flat out hater. It’s gonna be hard to box the god in.
Steve, since u decided to use ESPN to push your personal agendas, im sure your minions will run with this story for you, but if u believe this is what my career is defined by then you just a flat out hater. It’s gonna be hard to box the god in https://t.co/AUMkP8P59g
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) February 6, 2022
Smith saw what KD tweeted and responded with his usual performative bluster and metaphorical “you know where to find me to talk” spiel.
Okay. Stop the b.s. Religiously I’ve been on the record calling you the best in the WORLD. This is not about your game and you know it. We all know you’re great and you’re a champion. We will celebrate that forever when you’re DONE playing… https://t.co/pM8ztxuTRf
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) February 6, 2022
KD hasn’t played basketball since Jan. 15, when he sprained his MCL. Rehabbing for four to six weeks is boring. He’s not on the road with his teammates. It gets lonely. When you’re bored and you’re KD you tend to hop on the interwebs and search your mentions on social media.
That’s all this is. Filler for the talking head shows. Smith and his fellow opiners feed off this stuff. It drives ratings, it’s all a game and a form of entertainment for the sports fan masses. Smith has something to talk about now on his show for days.
Frankly, none of it is terribly interesting. But what is interesting is the idea of narratives, and why fans believe what they believe.
It’s kind of like a chicken-and-egg question.
Do fans actually believe overwhelmingly that KD will be remembered more for leaving the Warriors and teaming up with Kyrie, than winning in Golden State? Or,do Smith and his fellow talking heads yell about it on various platforms and again on Twitter repeatedly so that is what fans think?
It’s a fascinating question I don’t quite have the answer to. But I suspect it’s a little of both.
Some fans certainly believe in that narrative, and there are likely many others who have no opinion on it at all. But the more the latter group hears it said, maybe they adopt that line of thinking too. Narratives can cause a type of myopia and groupthink.
KD is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. In terms of pure talent and ability he’s likely one of the 10 greatest ever, and that’s not hyperbole. If there was a hypothetical game for the fate of the planet and we had to take on the monstars for survival, it’s hard to imagine nine players you’d select before KD.
Winning two titles and two Finals MVPs with the Warriors, enhance his legacy. Leaving the Bay to head to Brooklyn and team up with Irving doesn’t diminish anything about his basketball-playing ability.
Getting to the Finals is hard, winning is even harder. You need to be excellent and also lucky. KD and the Nets have had terrible injury luck since 2020. But when he, Irving and James Harden have been healthy they’ve been incredible.
It just hasn’t happened a lot. Players over the age of 31 tend to get injured more, that’s just a fact. That fact and a teammate’s unwillingness to take a vaccine have nothing to do with his ability to play the game. KD’s legacy is still being written, but this shouldn’t be the defining moment.
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