OKC Thunder: Is Kevin Durant hurting his legacy by being too sensitive?

OKC Thunder, Power rankings week 12: Kevin Durant #7 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets look on during their game (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder, Power rankings week 12: Kevin Durant #7 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets look on during their game (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Former OKC Thunder superstar Kevin Durant got into another Twitter exchange with a media member and fans. Will his inability to let things go affect his legacy?

Through the initial six or seven years of his professional career, Kevin Durant was the favorite son of the OKC Thunder. On the court, he was best known as the Durantula the long-armed scoring phenom who many cited as the second-best player in the association.

Off the court, he was known as the player who kissed his mother after every game and was polite with the media. His 2013-14 regular-season MVP was capped by the memorable ‘you the real MVP’ acknowledgment of his Mother.

In those seven seasons, he was the player held up as the prime example for young rising stars to emulate. These attributes and qualities made him the darling of the association while sponsors flocked to have him represent their brand.

Yet, a shift in his public dynamic changed around his ninth season. He was still a killer on the hardwood – – but off the court, the soft-spoken Durant suddenly wasn’t so appeasing of the media.

That essentially started when he bolted to join the 73 win Golden State Warriors. Of course, OKC Thunder fans were devastated but many analysts and pure NBA fans were also shocked. And there are ample reasons why there was such an explosion over his defection.

The Dubs weren’t just the winningest team in history – – they were the same team the Thunder had by the throat with a 3-1 lead against in the Western Conference Finals. The same team after losing the series KD said in the locker room – – we’ll get them next year.

Some called it the softest move ever made in free agency since Durant was on a legitimate finals contender not a bunch of scrubs. However, what added fuel to the criticism was Durant called out LeBron James after his ‘2010 decision’  implying players who fled to form super teams were soft and not a decision he respected.

On top of hurt feelings, that previous statement fueled much of the negative fan and media reaction to his choice in the summer of 2016.

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Since the move, Durant has made waves, particularly in the social media forum both in terms of his fake Twitter accounts and his personal account. All the effort made on his well crafted public image was no longer evident.

Perhaps it was a matter of maturing and finding his voice. Possibly he’d reached a stage in his career where he no longer had to be as careful because of his established position in the NBA. Or maybe he simply didn’t care to present a specific image any longer. Whatever the reason, Kevin Durant’s image is the polar opposite of the lofty public image perch he once owned.

Whether he took a hit in public opinion is questionable. Despite his surly demeanor, online fan debates and a second decision to leave an elite team he was well-positioned to reclaim the good guy mantle. That opportunity arose when he attempted to come back early from injury to play in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The fact he tore his Achilles Tendon had fans and media jumping all over the Warriors for the ill-advised choice.

Unfortunately, Durant apparently couldn’t let sleeping dogs lie. Case in point – – Matt Moore made an observation regarding Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s upcoming decision. He fairly noted it’s Giannis’ choice but also stated he’d be disappointed like he was with K.D.

Durant couldn’t let it go and responded to Moore calling him a ‘sensitive NSFW word’.

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The operative word being ‘sensitive’ and the corresponding irony of Durant’s choice of words. The fact he couldn’t leave it alone confirmed his sensitivity to the situation.

If you click the above tweet and follow the thread there are several fans who point that out and. of course, K.D. chimes in again tweeting comments like ‘boo hoo’ and ‘cry some more’.

Look, it is an undebatable fact that Durant is one of the best the game has ever witnessed. He’s a no-brainer first vote, Hall of Famer. He may end up as the best to ever wear the OKC Thunder jersey.

The question is when the superstar hangs up his sneakers for good how will his inability to ignore criticism or simple comments become a part of his legacy? It’s unlikely it plays a big role but if Durant wants it not be a factor at all – – he’s the only one who can change it.

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