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Wade: Durant playing in Oklahoma City “dims his light a little”

Jun 15, 2012, 11:20 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder – Game Two Getty Images

Kevin Durant is one of the NBA’s biggest, most marketable stars. He’s already landing national commercials — “Doodle jump? Man, that’s messed up.” — has a big Nike deal and this summer will star in what promises to be a delightfully awful movie “Thunderstruck.” All at age 23.

But he could be even bigger off the court if he got out of Oklahoma City, Dwyane Wade said. From Ben Golliver at Eye On Basketball.

“Sometimes it’s where you’re at,” Wade said at practice on Wednesday. “If he was in Los Angeles, Chicago, somewhere, it would be a little different. Being in Oklahoma kind of dims his light a little bit, not him on the basketball court but him off the court.”

Oklahomans are going to take offense to this, I think Wade sees it purely as a business situation.

Two thoughts here.

First, in Durant’s case I disagree with Wade. For 99 percent of the players in the NBA where you live does impact your ability to get endorsements and have opportunities off the court. Deron Williams killed it in Utah for years on a pretty good team, but he goes to the Nets who are terrible, lives in New York and suddenly he’s landing a Red Bull deal.

But for a handful of superstars — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and now Durant — they are international icons and they will get their deals and opportunities regardless of where they choose to play. LeBron was getting just as much (if not more) in Cleveland than in Miami. The NBA is a star-driven league and if the star is big enough the opportunities will gravitate toward them regardless of market. That’s only a handful of guys, but Durant is stepping onto that level now.

Second, not every NBA star is suited to playing in a small market, but Durant is one. He is, by personality, suited to that lifestyle in a way that Tim Duncan was but Dwyane Wade really is not. I don’t mean that as a knock on either — I live in a big city and can’t imagine living anywhere else, but some of my best friends I grew up with wanted out of here for a slower-paced life. It’s not wrong or right, it’s a preference.

Durant seems to genuinely love playing and living in OKC. We’re a long, long way from knowing if he will spend his entire career there but he has the demeanor that would work in that environment, so if it is what he wants it’s what he should do.

  1. cosanostra71 - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    of course Wade thinks that.

    • kinggw - Jun 15, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      Because its true. Its not a slight to Oklahoma or OKC, its just the truth. Is Chicago a more marketable place than Sacramento. Obviously. Not everything athletes say has a negative connotation or has a malicious intent.

  2. cakemixa - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    So sick of these “Hollywood” NBA stars. Wade, don’t be mad because Durant will likely end up being more successful than you both on and off the court while playing for a small market team.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      Want to bet he’s not on a small market team when this deal is up?

    • teambringitstrong - Jun 15, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      So sick of these “Hollywood” NBA stars. Wade, don’t be mad because Durant will likely end up being more successful than you both on and off the court while playing for a small market team.
      Don’t tar all ducks with the same brush with your Hollywood comment. Whether you know it or not, or care to admit it or not, people make their living in Hollywood working harder than you ‘honest days work’ people. Don’t believe me, take your arse to a movie set.
      BTW, Wade is an idiot.

      • phaden27 - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:54 AM

        @Dead. Yes I do, I’m a Celtics fan and that’s how much I believe in KD’s character as a person.

        @Team. Versus what? Saving peoples lives as an EMT, running up burning buildings for crap pay? Teaching ungrateful brats who don’t want to learn anyways?

        Just saying.

  3. Great Caesar's Ghost - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Funny how in the NFL playing in Green Bay (population 100,000) can make you more marketable than cities ten times bigger. This is the biggest ‘problem’ with the NBA, though I think it’s mostly media and player groupthink. This is why I’m hoping OKC wins – more small market teams need to prove they can attract stars and win titles.

    • kinggw - Jun 15, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      I dont think so, Aaron Rodgers’ biggest deal so far was an insurance ad. If he played in a bigger market, the Super Bowl MVP would have much more lucrative deals.

      Blake Griffin has been in the league a few years, hasnt won anything, and has major deals with Kia and Subway.

      It pays to be in a big market. That doesnt mean places like Green Bay are less desirable to play in, players just have to accept that they wont receive as many marketing opportunities as they would if they were in some place like Chicago.

      • Great Caesar's Ghost - Jun 15, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        Good point. I guess NFL players are just more willing to go to less glamorous locales for $ and/or the chance to win. NBA players seem blinded by LA, NY, Miami, and to a lesser extent Boston and Chicago.

      • dmq13 - Jun 16, 2012 at 11:41 PM

        I disagree with that. Eli Manning plays in the biggest football market there is and is successful (2 SB rings) and you dont really see him doing any big adds or commercials now do you?

        His brother Peyton played a one of the smallest markets (Indy) and has probably made just as much off of endorsements as he has salary the past few years.

        Also look at Brett Favre…made pretty well with marketing from GB…had about the same success when he went to NY, and MIN

        Its not about location…People who know just a little bit about a sport know all the big names. Its just as the article points out the type of player you and and your demeanor…. if youre a big name with a big personality youll be marketed no matter where you play.

    • ewyorksockexchange - Jun 15, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      I agree with your general sentiment, but Green Bay is a bad example for four reasons. First, they have 13 world championships. No matter where you’re located, that makes you relevant. Second, they had the best coach in history, so good the championship trophy is named after him. Third, they weren’t all that big in recent history before Favre, he did a ton to bring the franchise to the stage in the new world of big media. Fourth, the NFL is popular just about everywhere regardless of population, unless it’s Jacksonville. Again, I agree with what you’re saying, but Green Bay is a super special case.

  4. acdc363 - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    I disagree completely.

  5. jjpt4540 - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Wade is upset that Durant didn’t need Shaq or Lebron to get to a NBA Finals. And I get the felling Durant doens’t want to go Hollywood like Wade and James.

    • ceschatz - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      “And I get the feeling Durant doesn’t want to go Hollywood like Wade and James.”

      Yea, thats why hes doing comercials and garbage movies, because he “doesnt” doesnt want to go hollywood. Yea ok

    • ceschatz - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Durant is awesome and I wont take that from him, but without Westbrook and Ibaka he would never have even gotten close to the playoffs, let alone the finals.

      • therealhtj - Jun 15, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        Don’t forget Harden.

    • canehouse - Jun 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      Hello McFly… Wade carried the load in 06!!! Look up the numbers… Shaq was definetely a big part… as is Westbrook, and Harden to Durant.

      • 24thesho - Jun 15, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        To all of you: It’s a team sport…., it may be the first time we’ve actually seen a “real” team in years.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 15, 2012 at 5:14 PM

        Being a Heat fan you probably didn’t realize Tim Donaghy’s was a ref in that series. The same Tim Donsghy that bet on & fixed games. I don’t think it was coincidence that Wade shot 20 free throws a game.

  6. thesixersbench - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Amusing comment. Pay the course for Wade. I wonder if he realizes that most people already consider Durant a bigger star than him?

    • ceschatz - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Most people? You mean the Heat haters? Thats far from most people.

      • acdc363 - Jun 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        Well my mom is far from a sports fan (and obviously she isn’t a Heat “hater”) and she knows KD so well she refers to him as the Durantula. The only player she can name on the Heat is Lebron. Bill Simmons’ mom test rules all.

      • chicitybulls - Jun 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM

        You dont REALLY think that Wade is better or a bigger star than Durant… you?

    • Tim Donaghy Institute of Refereeing - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      I don’t recall the last commercial I saw featuring Wade. He sounds like the 45 year-old local news anchor that is bitter at the younger gals pushing her out the door.

  7. gmen4life33 - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Wade: “Durant, leave OKC and join some other All-Star’s team, so people will stop being so tough on my boyfriend Lebron for doing the same. Its really putting stress on our relationship! He hasnt kissed me in weeks 😦

  8. loungefly74 - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    agree with Kurt. KD has that transcending power to overcome OKC’s “limitations”. I guess Wade’s statement can be valid as the bigger cities have that potential to incresase his “light” a little more…but the way KD portrays himself…his likability overcomes that.

    Okay…the Laker fan in me says (tongue in cheek) OKC is too small…Wade is right…and he needs to leave OKC ASAP and go to NYC or Boston (somewhere east)…

  9. detroitcityryda - Jun 15, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Umm not really hes pretty known not as much as if he was a laker or knick because it’s the big city media that creates the star image by constantly writing about the player .but hes a star so no matter where he plays people will know about him and he’s doing plenty commercials .I swear Lebron had more exposure in Cleveland then in heat it’s just that they haven’t won anything and Miami was never a sports city remember first playoff games their arena was half empty with 3 stars on their team never would happen in Detroit,Chicago,Philly,.all I know okc have 100x the fans heat do .

  10. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 15, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    PBT pulls that one (benign) quote from the Wade interview to fire up readers. In the entirety of the interview, Wade says playing in a bigger media market has it’s advantages and it has it’s disadvantages. He says sometimes he would like to be less in the spotlight and less of a public figure. He says he doesn’t like being noticed everywhere he goes. But he says he understands that being public has an upside too.

    Wade has huge respect for KD. How can you not? The guy is incredible. Going to be extremely tough to win 3 more. We’ll see.

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      Miami media never criticizes those bums. All they do is kiss their overrated a**es!

      • ceschatz - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        Overrated? Hahahahahahahaha. Wow, you really don’t know much about basketball, do you?

      • heat256 - Jun 15, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        Really? Dave Hyde questioned whether Wade has naything left not too long ago? Are you this stupid naturally or do you work at it? What an ignoramus!! The kids on the short bus even make fun of you.

      • heat256 - Jun 15, 2012 at 2:05 PM

        Correction: anything*

      • kinggw - Jun 15, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        You obviously have never read Winderman. The Heat will blow someone out by 20 and he will find a way to say Lebron was coasting and Chalmers screwed something up.

  11. canehouse - Jun 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Whatever… Wade speaks the truth on this… everyone including my dog knows that if you’re in a major market… you are going to have more opportunites. Durant is one of the ELITE players in the Association, and might be one of the all-time greats when it’s all said and done. Given his blessed abilities… he will more than have share of the pie… but perhaps not as much as a someone that plays in NYC, Chicago, LA, Philly, Boston, or Miami.

  12. shockexchange - Jun 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Durant also doesn’t have the scrutiny that players who play in large markets. OKC has been under the radar and quietly putting together a championship-caliber team. If this okc team was in a large market they would have been torn apart by drama (in-fighting, nightclub altercations, palimony suits, etc.) already.

  13. asublimeday - Jun 15, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Wade is a jaded, disillusioned jerk

  14. cantonbound13 - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Not everyone can be overrated and overhyped like you & LeBron. Good to see Wade still cashing in on Tim Donaghy’s criminal actions.
    The difference between Durant & those clowns is Durant could play & deliver in a big market like Ny, Chi or LA.

  15. marvin216 - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Does anyone remember when guys were just happy to make it to the NBA? ESPN started all of this. They suck.

  16. happyz82 - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    playing next to a better player “dims” Wade’s light.

  17. jesse1834 - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Aww Wades mad because Durant jerseys sell better than his. Wasn’t it about this time last year that Wade and Mr. 3 Quarters started chirping during the finals about Dirk? Bad Karma Wade.

  18. shockexchange - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Just when you start to cheer for Wade, Lebron, Bosh, et al., this prima dona comes out of his mouth with something this stupid.

  19. blueintown - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Peyton Manning played in tiny Indianapolis for thirteen years, and he was on every g*ddamn commercial on television.

    Regardless, Wade wasn’t trying to degrade anyone. People need to stop taking everything these basketball players say so seriously.

  20. thebigcaptain2011 - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    These guys are here to make money. Stop acting like this is 1950 when guys had jobs in the offseason and played 100% for the love. I’m not saying these guys don’t love the game, but when you charge 100 bucks for your shoes (and thats EVERY NBA star) when you know kids are buying them, you can’t say you are totally doing it for the love.

  21. truthhurtstoo - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Small market with not much to do but stand during games and watch the corn grow. He’s wasting away better opportunities.

    • lyndseymarieee - Jun 15, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      You’ve obviously never been to Oklahoma. We aren’t exactly known for our corn crop. Maybe you’re thinking of Nebraska…

  22. truthhurtstoo - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Until Durant is the Finals MVP, all this chatter means nothing. He may make it one day…. but not today! Heat Win in 7.

  23. mikejd12 - Jun 15, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Oh god all the cry babies on here ” Cantonbound,cakemixa, dirtybird” winning is all i hear from your mouths. If you heard the whole interview as 1972 suggested. It wasnt a slight, it is what it is. Hense why the basketball lockout was so long. They said 22 of the 30 teams are loosing money. The ones that arent are mostly big market teams, or teams with a die hard fan base. It just is what it is!! Stop your crying and go back to your couch and complain about the refs. Big market equals more attention. And i love the way the guy that wrote this article only put half of the article in here to fuel his own agenda………SOFT MCGULICUDY

  24. scalfor3 - Jun 15, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    the heat wouldn’t have as much media attention if they didn’t throw a championship parade before playing a single game. just saying

  25. vstyle23 - Jun 15, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    You see, it’s that type of greed stupidity that has Dwight Howard trippin. These cats are so greedy!! Thank God Durant is different, for the moment. He signed his new contract for less then what he could have gotten because he understands that the position that he’s in and the money he makes many would kill for so to greed for more is just….. Greedy!!!

    • divan22 - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:38 AM

      Um… Durant signed a max contract extension. So no, he didn’t sign for “less than he could have gotten”.

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