Here’s a prediction as predictable as the NBA playoffs: Stephen A. Smith and Kevin Durant are never going to be friends. I would bet on Kevin Durant reuniting with Russell Westbrook as a Laker before betting on seeing a photo of the ESPN First Take host smiling with the Golden State Warrior.
On the latest episode of First Take, Stephen A. went off on KD in response to Durant’s recent “If you don’t like (watching the playoffs), don’t watch it.” comment.
“He’s aged. And along the process of aging, he’s gotten more arrogant, he’s gotten more disrespectful, he’s gotten more dismissive, particularly of the fans,” Said Smith, who has been beefing with KD for years “To be quite honest with you, he hasn’t gotten smarter. And the reason why he hasn’t gotten smarter is because the younger Durant never would have said something so flagrantly disrespectful towards fans.”
Smith did sprinkle some compliments during his three-minute rant, saying KD deserves every penny of his contract but then said he’s “unappreciative” of being on a “damn-near 10-year honeymoon.” What he means by honeymoon is the world and media looks at KD the same way a husband sees his beautiful-can’t-do-anything-wrong-new wife as opposed to how the world looks at a LeBron James the way a husband might look at his nit-picking-packed-on-a-“few”-pounds wife who wants to get rid of your man cave and trade-in your sports car for a mini-van so you can take your kids and their friends to soccer practice. I know I got carried away there but what I’m saying is KD had it good until he decided to take his talents to the Bay in 2016 — a move Smith was very critical of.
“I’m viewing this move as the weakest move I’ve ever seen from a a superstar. Plain and simple. That’s how I look at it. It’s not that he’s leaving Oklahoma City. If you’re not happy there and you want to move on, and you want to grow as a player, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Smith said. “He’s one of the top-three players in the world. He’s a quintessential superstar. He deserves all the credit in the world for the talent he possesses. But the flip side is this: They were up, 3-1, in the Western Conference final … and you depart for the team that beat you, when you’re on the cusp of getting to the Finals yourself or ultimately winning the championship?”
You might think this is where the beef started but it actually goes back to 2015 when Stephen A. Smith talked about KD’s upcoming free agency and a possible move to the Lakers.
“Regardless of how senseless it may (sound), in one breath I’m hearing that if Kevin Durant doesn’t stay in Oklahoma City, L.A. is his primary objective and landing spot as opposed to South Beach or even his home of Washington, D.C.”
Kevin Durant responded by calling Smith a liar via The Oklahoman
“I don’t talk to Stephen A Smith at all. Nobody in my family, my friends, they don’t talk to Stephen A Smith. So he’s lying.
If you ask me a question, I’ll talk about them. But like I said before, I have people who I talk to about everything and I know for a fact they didn’t talk to him, so he’s making up stories.”
Smith didn’t appreciate being called a liar and fired back with this tweet.
Regarding @KDTrey5 and his negative comments about me, let me say this: At NO time did I ever say I SPOKE to K.D. Or his family. Or his brother, friends, teammates, etc. (although I can assure you all I have on several occasions in the past). I said I HEARD from folks I know — in a league I’ve been covering for 19 years — that if he were to leave OKC as a free agent, these are the cities I was told he was considering. OKC. LA. Miami. DC. NY. I stand by it all. And that is that.
His assertion that I was lying is not only FALSE, but totally uncalled for. Especially from a player who receives nothing but praise not only from me, but from practically every media member you can find. Yet, for some reason, we’re all the same folks who don’t know *&%$ about the game of basketball. Whose thoughts he could give a &^%$ about. Essentially, individuals he wishes he’d never have to talk to…..that he’s being forced to tolerate…..as if someone has done something to him…..OF ALL PEOPLE!
Don’t know what has happened to Mr. Durant over the years. But I know this much: We all win with his return, because he is an absolute superstar. The NBA is better with him. We’re all at a loss without him.
It just appears that @KDTrey5 needs to learn something about today’s world in professional sports:
We don’t have to talk TO HIM to talk ABOUT HIM!
Folks like ME will still be here. Watching! Listening! Waiting! Reporting!
Whether he likes it or not. While he’s here and long after he’s gone.
Time to get use to it.
Then Smith went on First Take, stared right at the camera and said, “you don’t want to make an enemy out of me.”
My next prediction is Smith and KD cross paths this summer and KD leaves an imprint of a championship ring on Smith’s forehead (yeah, I know the players don’t get championship rings until the following season but I didn’t feel like saying they will cross paths that far into the future).
BONUS VIDEO: IT’S REAL KD VS SMITH