And for the next chapter in the Kevin Durant Theatre, our hero spoke last Friday.
Durant had not spoken since we were all so sure he had torn his Achilles in Game 5 vs. Houston. Not only were we all wrong about the injury, but now everyone’s drumming their fingers on the table, pointing to their blue-and-gold wristwatch and saying: “What’s *taking* him so long to get back? Hurry up, KD!”
It’s kind of that way with Durant, right? It’s never been clean and simple.
That is, unless you count the time he won NBA Finals MVP in 2017.
And in 2018.
And when he told us, just last month: “I’m Kevin Durant. You know who I am.”
That’s the thing with Durant. There are moments when things are astoundingly, resoundingly clear, generally when it comes to him dominating a game. Or did you forget his 38-33-45-50 point finish in Games 3-6 vs. the Clippers? Or his 35-29-46-34 point start to the Houston series? That’s 38.75 points per game in the playoffs, if you’re among the “Warriors-Are-Better-Without-KD” crowd.
But the three-year ride of Durant-the-Warrior has involved many complications; from trying to block out nationwide dismissal of his joining the SuperTeam; to trying to understand his millennial need to create burner accounts and respond to haters; to thinking his November fight with Draymond (“We Don’t Need You!”) Green was the end of the dynasty.
And here we are again, in another state of Durant-fueled ambivalence.
His absence has coincided with some of the best basketball of Steph Curry’s postseason career, and certainly of Draymond Green’s postseason career. His absence has resulted in a 6-0 Warriors run of games (last part of Game 5 included) and a trip to the NBA Finals, where the Warriors face the possibility of trying to win road games without The Man Who Causes So Much Speculation.
Will he be a Knick? Will he be a Clipper? Will he stay a Warrior? Will the Warriors win a title without him? Are the Warriors better without him? Does he prefer Chinese or Thai food? Did he like the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale? Will we ever stop wondering if we’ll ever fully figure out Kevin Durant?
Said Durant on Friday: “It’s all cool . . . I know the real.”
Maybe there is “the real”, a team that overcame whatever dissension we believe to exist to win two championships out of two seasons, and are now just four wins from a third in three years. How much more ‘real ‘ do we need?
You think of images that suggest things are a lot better than doubters would believe: Durant greeting the team in the tunnel after beating Portland in Oracle . . . Durant, arms raised, watching Game 6 vs. Houston on TV . . . Durant, carrying the team past the Clippers, almost single-handedly.
As for the confusion as to why he engages on social media, he answered on Friday, “I’m a human being with a social media account . . . for the competitive side of me, if you’re going to say something, I’m going to engage.”
That actually sounds reasonable. Even as radio hosts, sometimes you just want to “engage.” Hey oh!
“I just want to enjoy my teammates,” Durant said Friday.
“I’ve planted my flag in this culture and organization; I’ve done everything they’ve asked me to do as a player and ambassador in the community,” he said.
Uh-oh. That sounds like a farewell address.
See? With Durant, there’s always a gray area lurking.
“I also know a lot of people on the outside don’t like to see us together,” he said. “I get it.”
The doors to Kevin Durant Theatre stay open. The show goes on.