Fans of the NBA have been tormented and virtually held hostage the last half decade due to two “Decisions” by LeBron James and the “Indecision” of Dwight Howard. Free agency decisions are the most important in the career of any professional athlete but they are paramount in the NBA world where one player can truly change the course of a franchise. The next player to step in the free agent circus is Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and on the threshold of the genesis of the new NBA season, drama has already made its way to OKC. Recently, TV personality and FORMER NBA Beat Writer Stephen A. Smith of ESPN revealed that he he’d heard that Durant had added the Los Angeles Lakers to a free agent destination list that already included his hometown Washington Wizards, his current home the Thunder and the bright lights and championship pedigree of the Miami Heat.
“Regardless of how senseless it may (sound),” Smith said. “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.”
Upon hearing the of news Kevin Durant stated the following:
“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.”
A strong rebuttal from one of the “nice guys” in the NBA who has indirectly hinted at disliking certain aspects of the media in the past and rightfully so. As mentioned in the previous edition of The Dish and brought to light by Joe Franco of The Hardwood Nation, media members at times can drop fabrications in order to gain exposure, attention, or credence in a sense but is such events necessary when one already has large platforms? Not one to be discredited, Smith fired back at Durant as only he used on Twitter to save face after being called a liar.
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.
Perhaps it’s time for Smith to get used to the fact that players of this day and age no longer need long-standing media types as himself as mouth pieces. It’s no coincidence that on the eve of the most important season of his career, Durant aligned himself with the Players Tribune where he was recently named as the Deputy Publisher.
Translation: Any news regarding the future of KD will be sent out via this outlet. As mentioned above, perhaps it’s time for Smith to get used to it.
Breaking the 4th Wall
For the last several weeks The Dish has covered multiple topics and random news bits in the NBA. As a matter of fact; the current space being occupied was allotted for analysis of the Indiana Pacers and their decision to move Paul George to the power forward position. As I arrived home Monday afternoon and turned on the television a replay of ESPN’s First Take was airing and as I was settling in I heard Stephen A. Smith addressing the situation between he and Kevin Durant. The first thought that appeared in my mind was “Wow, the timing couldn’t be more perfect” because I knew that I had to finish this post that hopefully many are currently reading.
As I listened to Smith I was enthralled by his veracity after being essentially called a liar by one Kevin Durant. In a sense I was still amazed because I thought that the feud had concluded with Smith’s above statement on Twitter but instinctually I should have known that Smith would use his greatest platform to fire back at KD once more. Part cautionary tale and part warning, Smith used his eloquence to bolster his credibility and at the same time reminded Durant that the media is a ball game that he can’t control and that he’d never have the final word.
The NBA’s regular is still weeks away and the season’s biggest story is already in full swing. The race to win the 2015-16 Championship is as wide open as ever before but the league being held hostage by the Kevin Durant saga may cloud the NBA. The measuring stick of such a hostage situation will be the potential response of Durant to Smith’s threat which was even promoted by a network that’s known for chasing the headline over factual details of a story.