Kevin Durant Tells the Media He Really Doesn't Hate Them... No But Seriously He Doesn't Hate Them, He Swears

kd presser

ESPN — After his shootaround availability Sunday morning, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant had something he wanted to “get off his chest” in regard to the media and his relationship with it. “I also got something else to say, if you guys don’t mind,” Durant said, unprompted by any question. “I’ve seen over the last couple of days, or couple of years, actually, that I hate the media. I actually do love you guys. If I hated someone, I wouldn’t talk to them, I wouldn’t interact with them, I wouldn’t laugh and joke with them, I wouldn’t talk about anything other than what you guys ask me.”

Durant’s statement was provoked by reaction to something he told after the Thunder’s win Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Asked about the perception of the Thunder and why he felt they aren’t considered a contender along with the likes of the Warriors, Spurs and Cavaliers, Durant said, “Man, the [media and experts] are always trying to nitpick us. I mean, they don’t like us. They don’t like how Russell [Westbrook] talks to the media, they don’t like how I talk to the media. So obviously, yeah, they’re not going to give us the benefit of the doubt.” On Sunday, Durant attempted to clarify his thoughts. “When I disagree, that doesn’t mean I hate you guys. My whole deal is to spark a conversation and hopefully we can talk about the topic, or whatever it is at hand that we can talk about, and we can all grow from there,” he said. “What you guys really want is someone who’s open and honest with you, and who’s opinionated. And that’s what I am.”

The tension between Durant and some of the media extends back to last season’s All-Star Weekend, where Durant said, “You guys really don’t know s—,” after being asked about the job security of his then-coach, Scott Brooks. He had a dustup in October with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith over rumors about his future free-agency decision. Durant also took aim at the media earlier this season, rebuking it for the way Kobe Bryant was being covered. “I’ve been disappointed this year because you guys [the media] treated him like s—,” Durant said. The outbursts led some to believe this was a change in image for Durant, going from an aw-shucks, backpack-wearing humble guy to more of a hardened, take-no-prisoners superstar. Durant, though, says nothing is different. “I haven’t changed, I’m the same person. I just grew as a man,” he said Sunday. “So hopefully you can appreciate it and know that I don’t hate you. That’s a harsh word, and my mom never brought me up to be a hater of anyone. I always believe if I’m open and honest and opinionated that I can grow as a person, and you can learn that’s what I’m about. “The main goal is to help the fans know the game a little bit more than they know today,” he said. “So that’s my goal, and hopefully that’s your goal instead of getting headlines or clicks. That’s my take on it, that’s the last time I’ll talk about it, but it’s something I had to get off my chest. I appreciate it.”





How exactly are you supposed to take it if someone tells you that they “don’t hate you” pretty much unprovoked? Thanks Kevin! Glad you don’t quite loathe me yet! Let me know if and when we get there. Durant’s building this narrative in his own head about how he’s perceived and I think it’s eventually going to muck up how everyone actually sees him. I definitely like KD’s candor and willingness to pull back the curtain a little bit, but I  just don’t buy the message. He tries to tell the media members that were present for this little rap session that he’s growing up when all of the interactions he’s having with them seem to speak to the contrary.

Look, everything I know about Durant suggests he’s a great guy. The play on the court speaks for itself. Everything off the court makes him look like an Eagle Scout who’s considering getting ordained. Hell, the “you the real MVP” speech was the first time I teared up outside of chopping onions in years. He’s built himself a pretty sterling reputation among fans and that’s hard to come by in an era where you’re under the microscope 24/7. That’s why it’s so odd to reach this point in his career and pivot by trying to go to war with certain reporters or “the media” in general. It just seems to me to be a regression in terms of maturity. KD wants to control his story, the Thunder’s story, and the NBA story in general and that’s just not going to happen. Athletes are certainly allowed to have opinions and we’ll gladly listen to them but that doesn’t mean they’re right or that anyone in particular needs to agree. It would be one thing if he was just giving an opinion and satisfied with that. But it seems like that’s not enough despite him insisting that it is. Everything I’ve seen of late would suggest he wants reporters to goose step based on his feelings. Otherwise they can expect a rebuke or insult followed by a speech about how much he definitely doesn’t hate them. 

slim reaper

At the beginning of the season he went in on reporters for writing about how god-awful Kobe was playing. Accurately, I might add. But KD felt that it was irreverent and said they were treating Kobe like shit for basically writing down exactly how shitty Kobe was playing. That seems pretty contrary to this speech he gave on Sunday about how he wants honesty from them. Honesty was that Kobe played historically bad at the start of the season. That’s the truth whether Durant idolized Kobe growing up or not. If you give an opinion like Durant did, you’ve got to expect that people are going to evaluate it. That’s the way this works. That’s why athletes give canned answers. Though his play is exceptional, he’s not an exception. This is just stuff that almost every athlete kind of accepts as being out of their control but Durant doesn’t get that. And he’s not learning it. He’s fighting it and calling it growing as a man. Which is fine if that’s the route and role he wants to play. I like seeing behind the curtain. If he wants to go to war with “the media” over perceived slights, that’s his prerogative. But I don’t have to believe that that’s maturity when it’s gotten to the point where he feels the need to tell the people he sees almost every day that he doesn’t hate them just so they know for sure. Especially when almost everything I’ve ever read about Durant is largely positive. This story that he’s created where there needs to be animosity between them is pretty much his own making.

I can’t even imagine if KD left OKC for a media market that really sensationalizes and goes hot or cold on their stars at the drop of a hat. In Boston or New York he’d go nuts. Because as of right now, Kevin Durant really doesn’t hate all these reporters. Totally doesn’t want to punch them in their nitpicky smug faces for not giving the Thunder enough respect. Just so they know. He really doesn’t hate them. God forbid anybody writes a story that actually paints him in a negative light. Then he’d be obligated to tell that reporter how much he doesn’t want to strangle him. Seriously. He hasn’t even looked up how much a garrote would cost. Like I said, he seems like a great guy. He’s just a great guy who’s set on picking fights with a bunch of people who don’t really want to fight him.