KD? He’s a different cat, man.
I don’t know if we’ve ever seen a superstar as sensitive as Kevin Durant in the Bay Area. Is it a millennial thing? A product of social media?
Whatever the reason, from Joe Montana to Barry Bonds to Steph Curry, we’ve never seen someone as apparently thin-skinned or moody as Durant.
But then again, I don’t know if it really matters.
Do his unpredictable moods affect his play? At 27 points per game, seven rebounds per game and six assists per game, at a 50 percent shooting clip — all numbers on par or higher than his career numbers — the answer is no. His play is as outstanding as ever.
Did his media lash-out indicate some sort of trouble in the locker room, affecting team play? The Warriors have won 13 of 14 games, and at 38-15 are the No. 1 seed in the competitive Western Conference. The answer is no.
Did Wednesday night’s “Grow up!” admonition indicate he has mind made up, and will be a New York Knick next season? You’d be guessing if you thought so. We also thought he might be a Laker. We also saw him tour Chase Center in a hard hat (he didn’t have to) and gush that he could see a lot of points in that building.
KD is a different cat, and it didn’t take Wednesday night’s “Who are you?” Shots fired at The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss for us to make that discovery.
As Durant has arrived as one of the best scorers in NBA history before our very eyes, we’ve seen him:
— Weep about his love for Mom in his famous “You the real MVP” speech.
— Tell Oklahoma City reporters “y’all don’t know s—t” in a salty rant expressing his distaste for them in 2015.
— Donate $10 million of his own money to an education center for underprivileged kids in his hometown.
— Get into a celebrated fight with Draymond Green at Staples Center, and reportedly brood at a loading dock.
— Played along with our fun little ‘Murph and Mackie’ Bay Area Player of the Year award, twice leaving amusing voice mails, then accepting our bobble head as some sort of faux trophy.
— Got busted creating ‘burner’ accounts to respond to haters on social media.
He’s a one-man opera, and if he wears your team’s uniform, you take the outbursts along with the NBA championships and NBA Finals MVPs.
I don’t think his lash-out on Wednesday indicated that he’s bound for New York more than ever. I would bet, on gut instinct, that he doesn’t know for sure what he’ll do on July 1, just like he didn’t know what he’d do on July 1, 2016 when he entertained visitors at the Hamptons.
I think he’s tired of other people guessing his career choices, but also doesn’t process in his emotions that he created that environment when he signed a one-year-deal with the Warriors. He knows, on one side of his brain, that dealing with the media is a necessary evil, sometimes a fun one (you like your bobble head, KD??); but he also has trouble coping with that necessary evil sometimes, because he’s been a little bit of a lonely soul who has traveled from Maryland to Austin to Seattle to Oklahoma City to Oakland, and now doesn’t know where he’s headed.
I said this morning that it’s a man’s world in the NBA, with rumors and money and competition and it’s always wise to remember Harry Truman’s advice to those in the public eye: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Kevin Durant won’t leave the kitchen of the NBA. It’s his home. What he will do is sometimes complain about the heat, and we just have to understand that’s who he is.
I still don’t think he knows where he’s playing next year, and it’s causing conflicting emotions. He’s just a different cat.
Enjoy the show.