In late 2012 Nike launched an advertising campaign for Kevin Durant called, “KD Is Not Nice.”
The conceit of the campaign was simple: Durant, the 24-year-old leader of the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder, is not the baby-faced young player he appears to be. He’s a killer.
Two years later, it’s almost as if Durant internalized that branding, because he has been maddest guy in the NBA this season.
In an interview with GQ’s Zach Baron, Durant said he hates everyone he plays against when he gets on the court.
“I’m a total a******. I’m a d***,” he said. “I don’t talk to the other team. If I fall on somebody, I throw them to the ground, I’m not helping them up.”
He says he can’t stomach watching other NBA games on his own time because he wants everyone on the court to fail (via GQ):
“I just don’t like other teams or other players. I can’t sit there. I feel like I’m supporting them by watching it. I hope you have a bad game. Because I’m such a hater! I thought it was a bad trait I had. I was like, Man, am I jealous? Why do I hate this guy? But I hope both of the teams lose! That’s how I feel.”
In an age of congeniality between the NBA’s top players, with LeBron James as the most notable example, this is a page straight out of Kobe Bryant’s book.
Kobe has also gleefully called himself an “a******” in interviews, and lamented the younger generation’s aversion to trash talk.
While Durant isn’t exactly Kobe 2.0, he has been pretty angry recently.
He got into it with Chris Paul during a recent Thunder-Clippers game. Paul tried to stare him down, and Durant was seen yelling back at him, “You’re down 20 now, homie.”
Earlier in the season he reportedly called Dwight Howard a “p****” during a game.
In a game against the Nuggets he threw Kenneth Faried to the ground and then hurled a ball at him, drawing a technical:
Before All-Star Weekend, Durant had some choice words for any NBA player who thought they deserved his All-Star spot. Durant made the team despite missing more than half of OKC’s games due to injury. A lot of people criticised the decision, but KD responded by saying, “Whoever want my spot can play me one-on-one for it.”
At All-Star weekend Durant set his sights on the media.
“You guys really don’t know s***,” he told the Oklahoman. “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.”
When an former ESPN writer tweeted something disparaging about Durant’s teammate Nick Collison, Durant taunted him for getting fired:
The context here is key. The Thunder and Durant are having a tumultuous season. He’s been hurt. The roster is unsettled. Every day brings him closer to his free agency in 2016, when the entire Washington, D.C. metro area will clamor for him to pull a LeBron and sign with his hometown Wizards.
Maybe he’s just venting. Maybe, like Kobe, he pines for the good old days when NBA players all hated each other. Either way, this is a far cry from where KD was in 2012.
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