The NBA basketball season is right around the corner. Teams are full with expectations and some with reservations. And while teams are looking to make it happen, there are players that are either looking forward to free agency or trying to change their narrative. One player that is being talked about regularly for next summer is Oklahoma City small forward Kevin Durant. Along with everyone wondering how his health will hold up, there are some wondering if he will be in Oklahoma City next season. He has yet to sign an extension and there are some that think he will be leaving for another scene in 2016. Recently, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith fueled those flames by saying he had heard from sources that Durant would definitely be considering the Los Angeles Lakers as his primary target should he not return to the Oklahoma City Thunder. And when Durant heard this, he had this to say: “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.” Of course this response struck a chord with Smith and he addressed Durant on Monday’s edition of First Take. He proceeded to break down everything Durant said and claimed that Durant was the one “lying” and that he indeed talked to someone close to him. Smith also said Durant may want to check his sources. He even went as far as to say he was fielding calls from Durant’s inner circle trying to call a truce. This one may have died down for a day or so, but it seems like the temperature is still rising.
Durant is presumed by many the crown jewel of the free agent market. There will be many things that will be said about where he may or may not go all summer long. So why he was distracted by Smith saying what he had reportedly heard from sources? This was honestly something that never even should have struck a nerve with him. And calling Smith a liar through the media was uncalled for. It is understandable that he may not have liked what was said, but there will be many things that will be said over his lifetime that he will not like. In a sense, Smith calling players these days sensitive was a great assessment when it comes to Durant. If he wanted to respond to Smith, take that conversation behind closed doors. I’m sure Durant has Smith’s number and has contacted him more than he is letting on. Questioning someone’s credibility is not the answer here. But it seems like Durant has been going a different road over the last year with the media. It started with his talk in regards to how the media does not know much (which was followed by an apology) and it has apparently not left. Not sure what is going on with Durant, but his laser focus needs to stay on the court and not in the media.
Stephen A. Smith, for his part, did some things in this one that were not the brightest. He was called out as a liar by Kevin Durant and he just snapped. Smith would go on to call Durant a liar, tell Durant “he did not want to go there with him” and proceed to go through the whole situation. Although entertaining, this something that he could have done off air. Of course Durant took the dig at him and his credibility as a journalist and reporter. And anyone who is a journalist understands the fight for credibility that happens. That strikes a reporter and journalist to the core. But he could have been the bigger man, since he is older than Durant, and taken this one off the grid. Smith went off and that’s what fed into what some people loathe about him. But don’t let the persona he has fool you. Even though he is probably is not as involved in reporting and journalism as he once was, he still is a very credible source that has broken big stories before. Who remembers the person that broke the LeBron story of him going to Miami? That was one Stephen A. Smith. And there were many more stories that he has broken. So why would he lie on Kevin Durant just for this scoop? There would be no purpose for him to do so. And what a lot of people also missed is the truth that he laid in the rant. If there was not some truth to what was said, why would Durant suddenly react to him the way he did when others have floated rumors out there?
All in all, both are grown men and they could have handled this better. But since they did not, they both taught us a few things in the process. Many have shot down Stephen A. Smith in this situation just because he was the one behind some of these comments. But if another commentator said what he said, then many would not have batted an eye at it. And in Durant’s case, if this was LeBron saying what he said, he would be getting killed in the media. Both these last statements are not just situations but they are facts. Looking past someone to actually listen to what they are saying is something that we have lost in this world. Disdain for someone is understandable, but don’t let that blind you to what is being said. And that in itself is a lesson many could learn. But in the end, both these two need to get off social media and the television and pick up the phone. I’m sure in the end, both of them still have love for each other.