Kevin Durant: The ‘Heel-Turn,’ the Rant, the Breakup

For Kevin Durant the hits keep coming, including his made jump shots. Last week he went off on the media, this week he announced the cancellation of his engagement to WNBA star Monica Wright. As people wait for the next bit of shocking news from one of the NBA’s most business-like players.

The past week has been a telling one for the reigning MVP of the Association. He has bared his soul in a sense. Most of what he has said or done does not require a scolding or a boycott. It does need to be recognized and noted, if for no other reason but to wait to see if a pattern is forming here. Is Kevin Durant trying to be the bad guy on purpose?

The aforementioned moment he was lashing out at the media was a subtle “heel-turn”, to borrow a WWE reference. It was so out of character for him that talking heads all across the sports world were stunned.

“You guys don’t know [expletive],” said Durant to reporters on February 14th. The rant, according to ESPN was a frustrated response to a question regarding Oklahoma City Thunder head coach, Scott Brooks.

The round questions raised by the reporters who were on hand varied. It was the inquiry about Brooks, and whether or not his coaching methods are working for the team.

The questions have a little bit of validity to them, but injuries are the primary culprit to the Thunder’s 28-25 record. If the season ended at the All-Star break the Thunder would be on the outside looking in of the playoffs. But how many teams would be close to having a.500 record with the MVP missing more than half of the games played?

Oklahoma City have the talent to be higher in the standings, but they have been so reliant on Durant and his running mate Russell Westbrook. They depend on them so much that several other key contributors have not fully developed their respective games. That is a reflection of the coaching they receive.

It is not always about X’s and O’s in basketball, teaching the game, understanding it’s nuances and instilling confidence will take a team far.

In a recent USA Today article, Coach Scott Brooks used the word “challenging” when the subject of Kevin Durant’s health came up. Brooks knows that the pressure is on him to produce by getting the Thunder in the postseason.

Durant knows this as well. Perhaps that is why he defended Brooks so vehemently, even going as far as donning the proverbial black hat during the media session. He was representing the role of the bad guy.

There were other portions of his rant which made sense. His point about players having more of a say in the annual league voting, i.e. MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, etc. He also made a point about how he and the media are not friends.

They were friends before all of this. He needed (needs) them and they needed (need) him. What he did not need was to remain engaged.

Publicly admitting to ending things with Monica Wright may have been a bad idea due to timing. While no one truly knows the cause of their breakup, one website, EurWebcites a difference in lifestyle between the two.

It is irrelevant if the report is accurate or not. The news comes directly after the rant.

Is it possible that Durant was grieving over no longer being engaged?

Who knows for sure? It is possible.

In a GQ Magazine interview, Durant speaks his mind about several topics, he somewhat clears the air regarding the breakup between him and Wright.

“I had a fiancée, but…I really didn’t know how to, like, love her, you know what I’m saying? We just went our separate ways… We was just hanging out, chilling. And I felt the energy. I felt, I need to do this right now. And I just did it. I was like…We’re engaged right now? We’re about to get married? So I was just like, cool! I love this girl. But I didn’t love her the right way.”

It sounds as if his second thoughts really kicked in. He used his filter when discussing their failed relationship. You see a different side to him. One where you almost get the impression that his “heel-turn” was a necessary one given the journey he is on.

We want our athletes and entertainers to always be perfect when in truth, they are not. They are just like us. Kevin Durant had a bad day, perhaps an even worse week. Although he later apologized for his behavior, his mea culpa may come with a price.

For at least a week, Kevin Durant lost a little bit of shine inside his star. Thankfully he has built up enough equity with people to have earned the benefit of the doubt. How about that “heel-turn”?