Part I: Kevin Durant gets tagged in an unfavorable take
After quickly taking care of his free-agent business, the Golden State Warriors superstar headed out on an Asian promotional tour that’s seen him hit China, the Philippines and Taiwan. During some downtime on his trip, it appears, KD opened up Instagram, only to see that he’d been tagged in a fairly unflattering bit of analysis by @bucketscenter, a hoops-focused account run by a “teenage basketball analyst” named “Kalyb Champion”:
In Champion’s view, Durant joins two-time All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard and three-time All-NBA big man Anthony Davis as “elite two-way players” who still fall short of the likes of LeBron James and Stephen Curry overall because they “don’t elevate a team […] due to their playmaking/leadership deficiencies.” Champion captioned his take — which, frankly, a lot of non-teenage analysts might not find all that objectionable — with the prompt, “Thoughts? Agree or disagree?”
Well, someone disagreed.
Part 2: Kevin Durant will not be owned online
Yep: that’s Durant all right, once again taking time out of his summer to respond to social media criticism of his game and besmirching of his honor, by hopping into @bucketscenter’s comments to register his discontent with the “bold and controversial” viewpoint. This time, at least, he did so from his verified personal Instagram account.
Evidently, that quick “I don’t come down to where you work and knock the broom out of your hand”-style hit didn’t quite scratch KD’s itch. And so, it was off to the DMs … which Young @bucketscenter, naturally, screencapped for future publication:
The receipts are, um, something. Durant calls Champion a “middle school/knock off stephen a.” (Not exactly a compliment, given his past interactions with the grown-up version.) Champion calls Durant insecure. (Which, in fairness, KD has copped to in the past.) They argue over who’s taking this whole thing personally (SPOILER: they both are) and about how each should respect the other’s take (SPOILER: they both won’t) and about who is and is not really upset about it (SPOILER: they both are).
Part 3: Kevin Durant will not use your hate as motivation to do anything except be a regular dude
Ultimately, Champion suggests that Durant use his perspective as “motivation to prove doubters like me wrong.” It seems, however, that the notion of a four-time NBA scoring champion, six-time All-NBA First Teamer and one of only nine players ever to hit the 20,000-point mark before his 30th birthday needing to prove himself to anyone was too much for Durant to let slide:
“Nah buddy you’re like 12, your opinion will not be used as any motivation,” Durant wrote. “Y’all got people thinking that since I get buckets in the nba I’m too big and famous to be a black man at 7pm on a Tuesday, scrolling through Instagram. Lol y’all are too funny. I like Instagram. I like basketball. You GOTS to be trippin if I’m not gonna chime in every here and there lol ha.”
Champion then set the record straight: he is 17, actually, and is glad that Durant “owned [his commentary] this time and didn’t hide behind a burner.”
I don’t think we needed any more evidence that KD wasn’t too big to be scrolling through Instagram at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday or that he liked basketball, but, well, now we have it. And, on top of that, an aspiring midday cable take-provider has had his first brush with what happens when a celebrity claps back at your offering: a brief bit of virality that will only embolden future efforts.
Great summer stuff, everyone. Maybe we all just try to log off for a little while, and stay safe out there.
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