It all started with Stephen A. Smith’s Thursday appearance on NBA Today, which included a searing hot take about Kevin Durant. The Brooklyn Nets at the time were on a six-game losing streak that on Friday extended to seven. They are currently on a five-game Western Conference road trip that ends following this afternoon’s game against the Denver Nuggets. That means Kyrie Irving has played in the Nets last four games and they still have not been able to end this recent skid that has dropped them to sixth in the Eastern Conference while Durant is still out with a sprained MCL.
The goal of a team that brings in Irving and Durant that later trades for James Harden is clearly to win an NBA Championship. Smith said on NBA Today that if the Nets aren’t able to win a championship that Durant will be remembered more for leaving the Golden State Warriors to play alongside Irving than he will for the two NBA championships and Finals MVPs. Durant took exception to this take and replied “egregious” to the Twitter video.
Smith doubled down Saturday night on NBA Countdown, shortly before ESPN’s broadcast of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 122-115 overtime victory over the New York Knicks. He said that while it may not be fair to hold against Durant his decision to team up with Irving in Brooklyn, after everything that has gone on this season, there will be people who judge him for leaving the Warriors to play alongside Irving.
Durant was even more unhappy with Smith’s second series of comments, because he quote tweeted it on Sunday morning. His thoughts: “If u believe this is what my career is defined by then you just a flat out hater. It’s gonna be hard to box the god in.”
All of this beef, and I can barely focus on it because those two Papa Johns logos on the NBA Countdown set are so distracting. That’s something Turner does better with Inside the NBA than ESPN does with Countdown: The placement of advertisements.
Back to Smith and Durant. This isn’t the first time that they’ve had a public dust-up. Smith said in 2015 that if Durant did not return to the Oklahoma City Thunder, his first choice to play elsewhere would be with the Lakers. Durant took offense and told the media that no one he is close with speaks to Smith, whom he also called a liar.
Smith would later advertise his appearance on First Take to rebut Duant’s clams. An exact quote from that response is, “You don’t wanna make an enemy out of me.”
Personally, I believe that Durant will be most remembered for being one of the most unique players in the history of the game. He’s a 7-foot player with a game as smooth as George “The Iceman” Gervin. We’ll remember him as the man who left Stephen Curry — the ideal NBA professional — to play alongside Kyrie Irving.
We’ll make jokes about Durant for a few weeks and that should be the end of it. What we need in times like these, however, is to bring back Celebrity Deathmatch. Nothing could make this feud better. Just imagine a claymation Stephen A. Smith running over Durant in a boxing ring. Now that’s comedy.