Sensitive Nets star Kevin Durant has never encountered an internet troll he hasn’t pushed back against. And predictably his raw, open WSJ Magazine interview stirred up a hornet’s nest of responses for him to take issue with.
Durant always has opted to take on critics rather than let comments roll off his back. He has fought with unverified eggs on Twitter and concocted burner accounts to fight even dirtier.
And Twitter being Twitter, well, he had plenty of critics to fight with again this week.
In the WSJ Magazine article, Durant described the “toxic” vibe he got not only from fans in Oklahoma City but also from Thunder employees after he left the team in free agency three years ago. And by “toxic,” he meant fans coming to his house, vandalizing property in his neighborhood, burning his jersey and even making videos depicting replicas of his jersey being showered with a hail of bullets.
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A vexed Durant said in the interview he never will go back to play for Oklahoma City because the fans’ and employees’ hatred upon his leaving showed their seeming initial affection for him to have been “fake.”
That triggered Thunder fans to Twitter to lash out — despite the fact Durant will be 33 the next time he’s eligible for free agency if he takes the opt-out after the third season of his four-year Nets deal.
One person going by the handle @pilotjimjones came up with the comparison of Durant having broken up with a woman for her friend and then complaining because she wasn’t nice to him afterward.
Aside from the obvious — that being stalked and threatened by one’s ex might actually be a legitimate complaint — Durant had a reply.
“See that’s your problem my g. U thought we were dating,” Durant tweeted back. “That’s creepy.”
The responses to Durant raise some relevant questions about how much fans think they’re a part of the lives of the athletes for whom they root.
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Durant discussed in the article how Instagram is an introvert’s utopia, and how he likes to connect with young fans through social media. For better or worse, he stayed on brand here.
When one person chastised him for his constant feuding with random fans, saying criticism shouldn’t have as much impact on an uber-rich superstar as it clearly does on him, Durant had a simple explanation.
“Bro maybe I just like Twitter,” Durant replied. “It could all be so simple but u wanna take it there.”
Regardless of whether Durant likes Twitter, his relationship with the site seems dysfunctional. From fussing with some random unverified user with 100 followers to taking the time and effort to create burner accounts, for better or worse it seems like Durant is immersed in that world — and he’s not coming out.
“Just encouraging [young followers], letting them know they’re nice, and keep going. That s–t does a lot for me,” Durant said in the magazine piece. “That’s why I like the Gram. A lot of young grass-roots basketball players, I build relationships through Instagram, so when we see each other it’s love.”