[Editor’s Note: Although I don’t agree with ANY of the assertions posted below, I did find the piece to be funny and well written. It’s also the perfect counterpoint to today’s earlier post on RUN-OKC.]
Kevin Durant is a six-time All Star, five time All-NBA First Teamer, Rookie of the Year in 2008, and NBA MVP in 2014. He also has the honor of being my least favorite player in the NBA.
Our star crossed hate stems from a place of honest and sincere love. Growing up in Portland, OR (Go Blazers, I guess), I remember being one of two kids in my high school that has hoping our home team Trail Blazers would draft Kevin Durant over Greg Oden (shoutout to David Skolnik, being on Team Durant with me).
As it became more and more clear that the Blazers would be drafting Greg Oden, the more I, a noted contrarian, doubled down on the Durant love. I would tell my classmates that Durant would be twice the player Oden was within two years of the draft.
Greg Oden famously missed more games than he played in Portland, and the rest was history on his end. When Kevin Durant was a lowly Seattle SuperSonic (R.I.P.) he was likable. He could light up the Clippers for 40 one night and torch the 15-67 Miami Heat on a back to back. The SuperSonics sucked in 2008, but Durant was fun to watch, even if no one was paying attention.
In the offseason of 2008, something changed. I remember it pretty clearly too. People were getting over their love of Kobe, LeBron was too popular, and Bill Simmons declared Durant to be his favorite player in the league. Durant started to become the hip and in vogue player to declare your favorite when pressed by inquiring and basketball loving minds.
I let my love of Durant dwindle as the populace started taking notice. By the time 2010-2011 rolled around and Durant was named to his first All-Star game, won his first scoring title, and would be the FIBA World Championship MVP if not for the NBA player who casual fans never appreciated as much as they should (for no real reason other than people suck), decided he was tired of his home team and decided to link up with the greatest Toronto Raptor of all time, and a former Finals MVP. I of course am speaking of LeBron James.
Yes, my hatred of Durant stems from my love of LeBron. Look, I admit it. I love LeBron, and now that a lot of NBA fans hate LeBron for doing something that we all would do (look for championships when we already had more money than we’d ever need), I loved LeBron even more. The select group of “smart” NBA fans (aka the ones who didn’t care that LeBron left Cleveland) took umbrage with Derrick “No Knees” Rose winning the 2011 MVP over the clearly superior James.
King James did not make it easy on himself that year though. “The Decision” was poorly planned, his desire to be the bad guy in front of booing fans, and his ever-growing headband all made him look like the kind of guy who didn’t really understand what he was doing to his public image, which he clearly cared very deeply about.
Once the 2011 playoffs kicked off, LeBron went to a level of play as an individual and as a teammate that I’d not seen since Michael Jordan. King James averaged (rounding up) 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists per game in a 4-1 trouncing of the Chicago Bulls (perennial underachievers since the departure of Jordan).
Rose scored less, shot worse, and turned the ball over more than LeBron, for those keeping score at home. Miami was ready for the Mavericks in the Finals, and should have won in no more than 6 games.
But LeBron lost his first trip to the Finals with the Heat in one of the most bizarre and un-starlike performances I’ve seen in my years of watching basketball. Dwyane Wade was Miami’s best player, by a mile, and LeBron played almost as poorly as Derrick Rose (yeah, I don’t like Derrick Rose at all) in the Conference Finals the round before. I was sad. LeBron’s stock had never been lower, and Durant’s had never been higher. Something had to come to a head.
The 2011-2012 NBA season wasn’t of great note, other than the fact that LeBron won the MVP, Durant lead Oklahoma City past the, at the time, best team I’d ever seen San Antonio Spurs, and Derrick Rose blew out his knee in the first playoff game he played in that postseason. Finally, I had what I wanted. I had my guy playing against my least favorite guy.
LeBron wiped the floor with Durant (who cried when they lost) and Russell Westbrook was the best player on OKC. I couldn’t have been happier. The 2012-2013 season came and went, with LeBron winning another MVP and another NBA Championship, and Durant being boring and uncool.
I loved LeBron as much as any NBA player I ever have and hated Durant as much as any professional athlete I have ever hated (except for athletes who beat women or commit murders). Durant started to buy in to his “I’m the second best, and i’m tired of it, bruh!” narrative.
The more that Durant lived life in the spotlight the more I started to hate him. He had the lamest coach in the NBA (Scott Brooks), the coolest teammate in the NBA (Russell Westbrook), and still had acne. Durant was caught using homophobic slurs, cheering on battle rappers, and beefing with the Based God (Lil B).
Surely this was enough to get people to start hating Durant, right? Wrong! He could do no wrong! It wasn’t his fault he played for a bad coach, it wasn’t his fault that Russ shot too much, it wasn’t his fault their GM traded away James Harden. Why were excuses being made for Durant that weren’t being made for LeBron?
Why was LeBron clowned for losing his hair when Durant is balding himself? People like Durant because he doesn’t have tattoos (he does). They like him because he’s a nice young man (if using gay slurs and calling out the media makes you a nice young man… so be it).
People cried when Durant thanked his mother “You the real MVP” at his MVP press conference, and I’ll admit I thought it was very heartfelt, but then I remembered Kevin Durant has never won a Finals ring and beefed with Lil B.
Now when people ask me my favorite players in the NBA I answer before the question is out of their mouth. LeBron. Second favorite? Russ. Who do I think will be the MVP of the 2015-2016 season? Harden. Coincidence? No.
“Fuck Kevin Durant” – Lil B
Jordan Paladino is a Portland comedian, rapper, and writer for the show “Who’s the Ross?” He is a staunch defender of all things Lebron James, Drake and Kanye West. He is also a KD hater. I try not to hold these things against him.