Kevin Durant is one of the best basketball players in the world. He is one of the best scorers to play the game. He is also one of the most controversial basketball players in the world. When he disagrees with someone, especially when it comes to his craft, he lets them know. He always has.
No one can argue Durant’s career accolades, nor can they discount the profound global impact he’s had on growing the sport. So, why engage in Twitter wars with random fans? Why did he hide behind burner accounts to disparage old teammates and coaches?
It’s because KD is petty. He used to be petty in a certain way. But he since changed his perspective on pettiness. His transformation has been amazing.
The NBA, and basketball in general, is heavily affected by social media. There are, seemingly, no restrictions as to what professional players can and can not post. And the players take full advantage of this in the best ways possible. They roast each other with pictures and videos. They write songs about how soft other players are. Even official NBA accounts use their platforms to poke fun at other teams. The connectivity is astounding, and the content is endless.
Over the course of his youth and professional career, it’s been well documented how KD has used his social media to communicate with fans. While playing in Seattle and then eventually Oklahoma City, a treasure trove of phenomenal tweets from KD’s youth appeared. Some are hilarious. Some are borderline disturbing. All are worth reading. Here are some examples:
Luckily for KD, his media content from his youth shows that he’s more of a goofball than anything. His social media accounts helped bring more personality to the humble superstar from OKC, and his global influence and clout with younger NBA fans continued to grow as his game improved. Nike gave him a signature shoe. He went on tours to China to help promote the game. He became one of the faces of the league. And no one hesitated to share their opinion on his craft.
Eventually, he became a player that would polarize the hearts and minds of fans for years to come.
The landscape of the NBA completely transformed when KD signed with Golden State. He was branded as a snake and a coward, but he stood by his decision and reaped the lucrative benefits of playing with the Warriors. KD changed a lot on the way to becoming a consecutive finals champion and MVPs. He became the villain of the NBA, but one who seemed to (and still seems to) embrace the label. Just as he became a villain to fans around the league, KD became a villain on social media as well.
After signing with the Warriors, many fans took to Twitter to voice their concerns with the move. KD responded to some more eloquently than others. He responded to many in a very petty way.
Durant is just a man, so it’s understandable that he was upset by random people saying things like this about his business decision. It is fine to have open discourse with fans. Besides, KD backed it up on the court, and he won the finals with the Warriors in 2016-2017 while taking home Finals MVP. He validated his move, so no need to argue on Twitter anymore, right?
Eventually, the negative comments from random fans got to KD. They changed how he used social media. As he always has, KD responded to these comments. But not in his normal petty manner.
Before the beginning of the 2017-2018 campaign, news broke about KD’s burner accounts and the content he shared on them. These responses were not his normal brand of pettiness. They were, actually, rather mean:
KD has a history to responding to his fans on social media. Using burner accounts to say things like this is a terrible look for anybody, and this didn’t help restore KD’s image in any way from a Summer before. He apologized for the tweet, and other player’s voiced their contempt for the superstar. His pettiness took him too far, and this seemed to be an event that could have altered KD’s social media footprint forever.
And this did alter KD’s perspective on social media. He said in an interview that he took a short break from social media during the 2017-2018 season. And this break helped to ease his mind and view social media from a different perspective. His social media epiphany has transformed him from one of the NBA’s most vulnerable players into one of the most relatable. He is, unrelentingly and unregretfully, himself.
Durant responded to this controversy with play on the court, leading the Warriors to their fourth consecutive finals and delivering them their third championship in four years. Durant took home his second consecutive finals MVP. What did he do to celebrate? Got right back to his petty ways on social media:
Kevin Durant is a very petty man. And his pettiness translates to his social media content. He makes the NBA more exciting, both on and off the court. He is human, just like the rest of us.
Of course, what visibly separates us from KD is his basketball ability. But other than that, he is just a normal person.