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#pounditMonday, September 21, 2020

Kevin Durant was sensitive about fans favoring Steph Curry over him

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has moved on from Golden State and was in his first season with the Brooklyn Nets prior to the league going on hiatus. KD spent the three previous seasons with the Warriors, winning two championships and losing in the Finals last season. KD suffered a calf injury early in the playoffs and a torn Achilles tendon when he tried to return in the Finals.

During his time with the Warriors, Durant did not feel like he completely fit in. One of his big issues was he felt fans were forced to pick between him and Steph Curry at times. He even accused one writer of trying to drive a wedge between them.

Ethan Strauss has written a new book called “The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty,” and an excerpt from the book was published this week. In the excerpt, Strauss details an exchange he had with Durant on Jan. 5, 2019. The exchange came a day after Strauss wrote an article saying the Warriors sometimes sacrifice efficiency in their play in order to placate Durant.

Strauss writes in the first person in recalling the exchange:

I tried to make a few points, saying I didn’t begrudge him for having leverage with his contract, and insisted that I had good reason to write what I wrote. KD wasn’t impressed and accused me of trying to “rile up Steph’s fans.”

He expressed that this was a constant theme in the Bay. All of us local guys just wanted to kiss Steph’s a– at his expense. This was KD’s consistent lament. He would frequently squabble in direct-message conversations with the Warriors fans of Twitter, frequently accusing them of favoring Steph at his expense.

In one such exchange that foreshadowed things to come, he was asked by the WarriorsWorld account whether two-time MVP Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving was the better player. “I gotta really sit down and analyze it,” Durant demurred.

Durant has long been a sensitive person who is affected more by fan and media negativity than the average player. And even when Curry was trying to defend KD, the issues seemed to become too much for Durant by the end of his time in Golden State, leading him to leave the team.

In some regards, the dynamic between two superstars on the same team makes for a great talking point with the media, so yes, Durant is correct about the media’s narrative. On the other side, Durant also needs to learn to let it go, but instead he too often did not. Maybe it’s a lot easier said than done.

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