Kevin Durant is ticked at the media. Part of his message is that they’re fomenting discord regarding his pending free agency. The Warriors star says he doesn’t need the media, and I agree.
He can play without them. And the media can cover him without talking to him. But isn’t that part of the problem?
According to him, they’re not getting the story right.
“I don’t trust none of y’all,” he told reporters after the Warriors-Spurs game on Wednesday. “Every time I say something it's getting twisted up and thrown out and in so many different publications, trying to tear me down with my words that I say. So when I don't say nothing, it's a problem.”
There has been speculation Durant would join the Knicks when he becomes a free agent.
“I’m trying to play basketball,” he said. “Y’all come in here every day, ask me about free agency, ask my teammates, my coaches. You rile up the fans about it. Let us play basketball. That’s all I’m saying. And now when I don’t wanna talk to y’all, it’s a problem with me.”
Durant is normally approachable for interviews. Not so much lately.
“Why do I gotta talk to you? Tell me. Is that gonna help me do my job better?” Durant said in the postgame media session. “Nah. I didn't feel like talking."
While this is an entertaining story, it’s not a new one. Hundreds of athletes have gone after the media for doing their jobs — reporting and commentating on sports. One of the earliest media adversaries was Larry Bird, who wouldn’t talk to the press during his time at Indiana State. Supposedly, he didn’t like being called the “Hick from French Lick” in print.
When Bird was in Salt Lake for the Final Four in 1979, there was speculation he wouldn’t even talk with reporters for that. Eventually he got pressured to the podium one time, but all he delivered were a few short, clichéd phrases. It wasn’t worth the trouble for either him or the media.
I can’t remember a quote directly from him in college, pros or as a coach that was worth the wait. He had no use for media.
Durant hadn’t spoken to beat writers since last week.
NBA rules say players must be available to the media during certain windows, though it’s not always enforced on an individual basis. But interview obligations don’t require the athlete to be sociable. Most of Durant’s sessions are civil. But in honesty, Angry Kevin is more interesting than Relaxed Kevin.1 comment on this story
When a reporter is covering athletes, there will be problems. I had a ballplayer spit on my shoes. A different player blankly stared into my chest without answering a word to my questions. A locker room fight once broke out when I walked into a baseball clubhouse — partly because I walked in. Usually it’s harmless. Karl Malone fielded media questions during the playoffs one year by flipping through a hunting magazine and commenting on the articles instead of answering questions. I give him an A for originality. It actually was much better than the usual interview stuff.
Durant doesn’t think any of his media dealings are humorous, so he’s getting a bit confrontational. Fine. I’m just hoping he doesn’t think he’s an original.