Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant was recently blasted by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith who referred to Durant as “arrogant” and “disrespectful,” among other terms. The recent Stephen A. Smith rant was due to comments made by the NBA All-Star regarding fans who felt the dominance the Golden State Warriors have displayed in these 2017 NBA Playoffs has been boring. When asked about the postseason being lackluster, Kevin Durant was dismissive of the fans by saying, “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” That has now drawn criticism from both fans and the media including the always talkative Stephen A. Smith.
Just last night, Golden State made NBA history by completing their third-straight sweep in the NBA Playoffs, en route to a 12-0 record in this postseason, SF Gate reported. The Warriors eliminated a San Antonio Spurs team Monday that was missing Kawhi Leonard to achieve the historic NBA accomplishment. Before that, the team won 4-0 against the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz for their first two rounds. Now they will sit back and await the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals, which favors the Cleveland Cavaliers. It will mark the third-straight meeting between the two most recent NBA Championship teams.
On ESPN’s program First Take, reporter Stephen A. Smith addressed Durant’s comments to the fans. As Bleacher Report mentions, Smith had some serious criticisms for the Warriors star.
“He’s aged. And along the process of aging, he’s gotten more arrogant, he’s gotten more disrespectful, he’s gotten more dismissive—particularly of the fans. To be quite honest with you, he hasn’t gotten smarter. And the reason why he hasn’t gotten smarter is because the younger Durant never would have said something so flagrantly disrespectful towards fans.”
Smith goes on to say that Kevin Durant has made over $200 million so far for his career and he is deserving of all that money as a true superstar in the league. However, Smith says that the humble Kevin Durant everyone saw back in Oklahoma City winning the MVP Award and thanking his mother seems to have gone away. Smith also mentioned that with Durant in his 10th year, he’s had to “jump on a well-oiled machine” aka the Warriors to pursue an NBA title.
That particular aspect of Kevin Durant’s career may be what really haunts his legacy too. As of last season, he was still on board the Oklahoma City Thunder, teamed up with this year’s potential NBA MVP Award winner Russell Westbrook. However, Durant chose not to re-sign with his longtime team and jumped ship for the Golden State Warriors, a team that defeated his OKC Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Finals.
Per ESPN.com, Kevin Durant also spoke again about his “don’t watch it” comment, giving some clarification and an apology to those people he may have offended.
“I mean, life can be simple, man. If you don’t like the way the game is going, just turn it off. If you’re enjoying it, just keep it on. Life is simple. I didn’t mean it to disrespect anybody, but if you felt disrespected, I’m sorry. But if you don’t enjoy the game, turn it off [and] turn something else on. If you do, enjoy the rest of it, man.”
Fans will probably have a more entertaining series on the way for the 2017 NBA Finals, although what the real argument might be about is “parity in the league.” As it stands, neither the Golden State Warriors have really been tested in these 2017 NBA Playoffs. Despite facing teams with an All-Star or two, here or there, they competition has not been able to keep up with two juggernaut teams.
However, it’s hard to say that either team is being boring, they’re simply doing what they’ve been created to do: win basketball games. With that, there’s no reason for either team to let up when they have a double-digit lead, as the Cleveland Cavs certainly have seen what could happen if they don’t keep playing their cutthroat brand of basketball.
NBA fans, do you feel Kevin Durant’s comments were disrespectful or arrogant when he said “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it,” or was it a fair remark to make?
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]