Kevin Durant attracted a ton of criticism when he walked away from the Oklahoma City Thunder and signed a free agent contract with the Golden State Warriors in 2016. That was his right, of course, but joining the 73-win defending champions, who already have a few future Hall of Fame players and the two-time defending MVP (at the time) on their roster definitely seemed like “taking the easy way out.”
Durant and the Warriors won the 2017 NBA Finals, and KD himself picked up the Finals MVP award. You may think he would feel vindicated enough with that championship ring on his finger, but clearly the haters still bother him. In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Durant defended himself from those who blasted him for leaving OKC, including saying that not even Michael Jordan had to put up with this level of attacks.
I’m a person. I’ve got real feelings and I’m not afraid to be vulnerable in front of people who watch us play or that follow the league. It’s f—ed up that you’re saying that stuff about me, because just a couple months before, I was the greatest thing since sliced bread because I was playing for your team.
Your team is on TV every day, playing late into the playoffs and you get to brag about how good your city is to some other people around the country. It was all good when I was doing something for you. It was all good when I was representing you. Now I decided to take my career in my hands and I’m a ‘b—-‘? That’s confusing … because some people that I’d seen that cheered for me, people that I actually talked to, the faces they were giving me, the tone they had when they looked at me, it was weird.
If I (respond), it’s: ‘No, you’re sensitive. Shut up. You’re supposed to take it. Everybody did it. Michael went through it.’ I’m like, hold up. Michael Jordan did not go through this. You know what Michael Jordan went through? Reading the paper and it says, ‘Oh, Michael Jordan was 7-for-33 the night before, how the f— is he going to bounce back?’ That’s criticism. Criticism is not, ‘(blank), you moved to (blank), you’re a b—-, a coward.’ That’s not criticism. Criticism is calling me Mr. Unreliable and bouncing back the next night.”
The “Mr. Unreliable” comment stemmed from a front page of the Oklahoman after Durant and the Thunder suffered a tough playoff loss in 2014.
— Matt Glenesk (@MattGlenesk) May 1, 2014
When Durant first announced his move to Golden State in a Players Tribune article, fans across the country (especially on social media) cried foul that it was unfair.
“Magic would never have teamed up Bird. MJ would have retired before playing with Isiah,” they all said. Maybe they’re right, too. But it’s still Durant’s decision, and Golden State had expertly worked their existing contracts to give them the cap space to sign the former MVP.
Haters gonna hate.