Former OKC Thunder superstars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant rank in All-Decade greatest feuds

OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant vs. Russell Westbrook. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant vs. Russell Westbrook. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

SI The Crossover greatest feuds of the past decade featured former OKC Thunder superstars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant who made the seven item list.

As writer The Crossover writer Rohan Nadkarni dove into his greatest feuds of the past decade OKC Thunder fans weren’t surprised by one inclusion. Of the seven noted feuds one was Russell Westbrook versus Kevin Durant. Hey, it could just as easily have been the Thunder franchise or fan base versus Kevin Durant who made the list. Particularly when Durant once again elected to spout off about the city and fans who treated him like a god when he played for in OKC.

Hindsight is 20-20 when assessing the golden era for the OKC Thunder. During the reign of the OKC Thunder and lone trip to the NBA Finals it seemed this team and these two players specifically were fated for multiple rings.

Although James Harden became a casualty early in the process. To be frank, I’m not sure I’ll ever understand how Clay Bennett and Sam Presti couldn’t close that very small gap in the Harden negotiations. Yet, the team still boasted two superstars who would each go on to win the regular season Most Valuable Player. In fact, all three stars would pick up that hardware. Durant and Westbrook would win while with the Thunder while Harden would get his award with the Rockets.

In the case of Westbrook, his MVP season would come in the year following Durant’s departure making it all the more special. Moreover, it was the first season of three consecutive triple-double averages for the Brodie.

Nadkarni points to the social media post by Westbrook where he shared a tiered serving dish full of cupcakes. The relevance being the duo had adopted “cupcake” as a phrase for players who weren’t gritty or giving their all. This came about when Kendrick Perkins joined the Thunder and used to tease players in practice with the term.

What many outside Oklahoma aren’t aware of is during the time both superstars played for the Thunder Westbrook was always viewed as the problem child. Other than one article which questioned KD’s playoff performance (and subsequently was followed with an apology) the forward was treated like a deity. That was the only time in eight seasons he was ever questioned. Conversely, Westbrook who demonstrated far greater leadership skills was always the one heaped with criticism and constantly asked to improve or change his game.

Depending on how much you appreciate Westbrook’s 100 percent effort and unique game skills and mindset the criticism may be deemed fair or inappropriate. That said, the fanbase predominantly took Westbrook’s side when Durant vaulted for the Bay the summer after OKC had the Dubs on the ropes 3-1 but lost the series which would’ve taken them to their second NBA Finals. Rubbing salt in the wound was the Warriors had just delivered the best regular season record in the history of the NBA and boasted the league’s reigning MVP (Stephen Curry).

Word leaked Durant met with Mr. Thunder – Nick Collison and Westbrook for dinner days before the announcement saying he’d be back. At that dinner, Collison said Russ asked K.D. how he could help him improve to win another MVP and for the team to get better. The fact the enigmatic point guard learned about the defection via social media was a gut punch.

What followed was a season where every Warriors – Thunder match featured shade and angst. Russ showed up wearing a photographer’s bib in Oakland basically mocking K.D. for his photography passion. At the All-Star Game, Westbrook refused to answer questions about the feud electing instead to talk about fashion. It was drama to the nth degree and many of us giggled as we took it in.

The duo seems to have buried the hatchet so to speak, but Durant continues to be his own worst enemy as he simply won’t let it go. For as much as he says he doesn’t care – his continued jabs at the franchise, fans, Sam Presti and virtually everyone in Oklahoma make him look petty and well quite frankly a cupcake!

The other six feuds on the list were:

  • LeBron James vs. Dan Gilbert
  • Ray Allen vs. the Celtics
  • Nick Young vs. D’Angelo Russell
  • Kobe Bryant vs. Dwight Howard
  • Joel Embiid vs. A Lot of People
  • Labor vs. Management

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Although Westbrook wasn’t cited specifically in the Joel Embiid versus the “a lot of people” it isn’t a stretch to think the Brodie was among the players in this section. The duo has waged war on multiple occasions including waving and shouting at each other in several games.

An interesting side note regarding Embiid is peers have told me much of the big man’s antics are simply that. He enjoys entertaining the fans and playing up his role but he’s known to be very quiet on off the court.

Even this past summer when he rubbed in the 76ers win by pretending to fly several Raptors weren’t impressed as they made the point Philly hadn’t won the series yet. Danny Green said on his Green Room podcast he had intended to deliver a terse message to Embiid at series end, but when Embiid burst into tears he chose to console him instead.

Next. The top ten biggest villains in Thunder history. dark

The one feud which seems to be missing on the list is Patrick Beverley and Westbrook. Then again, the entire list can’t be all Russell Westbrook — right? To that end, you can visit the above article which highlights the greatest villains in OKC Thunder history.