Kevin Durant’s relationship with media continues to worsen
Over the past few years, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant has had a rock relationship with the media to say the least. That relationship experienced yet another bump in the road shortly after Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant announced his retirement.
When asked about the NBA legend’s legacy by the media, Durant decided to lash out at the people holding the mics saying they treated Bryant like “sh*t”.
During the All-Star weekend last season in February, Durant made his feelings very clear about the press:
“[the press] doesn’t know sh*t…To be honest, man, I’m only here talking to y’all because I have to. 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.”
This was the latest in a series noteworthy rift between Durant and the media. One such event came when Durant was asked about media members who were critical of his withdrawal from Team USA and responded eloquently saying, “F*ck them.”
Many attributed Durant’s new outspokenness to what has perhaps been the toughest season of his career. After missing the first 17 games of the 2014–2015 season with a Jones fracture, a type of foot break. This was the first in a series of injuries which limited Durant to only 27 games in the season.
So an athlete is clashing with the media. Why is this newsworthy? Players from other sports like Marshawn Lynch have had to deal with the media when they clearly don’t want to.
The reason Durant butting heads with the media is because in a very player-centric, social media driven league that the NBA is, Durant has been its darling. In an era where LeBron is the villain everyone loves to hate, Durant is the antithesis of such feelings.
Now because of this image Durant has celebrated since becoming the star in OKC, many members of the media believe they have gone “easier” on Durant than other stars like Bryant or James.
While media has spent time criticizing James about every aspect of his game or legacy, including his lack of titles compared to Michael Jordan and other all-time greats, and Bryant has had to deal with near never-ending talk of his decision to continue playing the game, such criticism surrounding Durant is much harder to find.
Durant’s deteriorating relationship with the media is coming at possibly the worst time for him if he wants the pressure off. He is heading into a free agent summer with speculation swarming that he may join his hometown team, the Washington Wizards, or a higher market team than the Thunder like the Heat.
So should the media increase speculation and/or criticism around Durant’s career in a way they have around “bigger” stars like Kobe, LeBron or Carmelo? That is up for them to decide but the thing that is most clear is Durant is no longer willing to play the role of the NBA darling.