Kevin Durant says Stephen A. Smith and others ruined the NBA

The war between Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and the NBA media continued this week in a series of tweets, which, of course, stemmed from something Stephen A. Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take.”

Durant was offended when Smith said Michael Jordan changed the game of basketball for the worse because he “individualized the sport.” Smith argued that after Jordan’s rise, the NBA focused more on players than teams, which negatively changed the dynamics of the game.

“Michael Jordan is as responsible as anyone for changing the game for the worse,” Smith said said. “He was so phenomenal that the NBA marketed the individual, audiences gravitated towards the individual, and the game became a little bit more individual. … What I’m saying is that you thought of ‘team’ until Jordan took it to another level. And then out of Jordan there were the Kobes and the Vince Carters and others that came after, and the individualization of the sport – especially because of the money involved – became more of a focus.

Durant refuted that idea, instead suggesting in a tweet Thursday that media personalities like Smith, Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe were actually changing the game for the worse. Not the players.

That sparked a series of reply-tweets from fellow fans and journalists. The first, of course, is Smith himself. The ESPN analyst played the “We Are Legion” card by claiming there are “thousands more” media personalities like him who are “not going away.”

Eddie Johnson, color analyst for the Phoenix Suns, disagreeing with Smith’s argument, but responded to Durant’s tweet by calling today’s athletes “too damn (sic) sensitive.” To which Durant responded that members of the media are indeed the ones who are overly sensitive and “can’t take what you’re dishing out.”

Durant versus the media

This isn’t the first time Durant has clashed with the media. His social media struggles have been legendary online and he has his sights set on just about everyone – fans and journalists alike.

He called out ‘Unchallenged’ Shannon Sharpe in 2021 for speaking out about a fake quote and then posted a photo shows that Sharpe blocked Durant on Twitter. He clapped back at Chris Broussard in 2019 for proposing a Warriors title without him would be Durant’s “worst nightmare.” He himself called CJ McCollum was a “snake in the grass” in 2018 after the Blazers’ then-guard called Durant’s decision to play for the Warriors “soft” on his podcast. Back in 2015, Durant called NBA writer Chris Palmer is a dumba**.

Durant finally spoke publicly about his frustration with how he was represented by the media with the wrestler during his tenure with the Golden State Warriors earlier this year. He said he feels isolated from the rest of the team’s reporting and is scrutinized for his actions more than his teammates.

“I just think I deserve a little more respect. I came out here and gave money back, sacrificed my name and got out here and sacrificed my body every night to be the best I could be. I was just asking for a little more respect in waiting until after the season than plaguing myself with questions like this every day, year-round [about free agency]. I felt it was unfair to myself and the whole group to even think about what would happen after the year. That was unprofessional in my opinion.”

This certainly won’t be the last of Durants’ Twitter feuds as long as the likes of Smith get his attention with their fiery takes.

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