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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. lyndseymarieee - Jun 15, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    If you’re a good enough player (and Durant is), then your marketability shouldn’t be based on whether or not you’re in a big city. Maybe Wade needs to be in Miami to get endorsements. But everyone knows who KD is and everyone knows who he plays for. I don’t think it would matter if he was in Chicago or NYC. I’m sure he’d much rather be concentrating on basketball than when the next endorsement is going to come waltzing through the door anyway. I don’t know the guy but that’s how he strikes me. Basketball first, endorsements later.

  2. honestjohn916 - Jun 16, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Yeah Dwayne because you guys don’t make nearly enough money just playing BASKETBALL right!? Pssh give me a BREAK! Give me a 12th man roster spot and 800k a year and see if Im complaining about playing ANYWHERE! Unbelievable. Btw, Durant and Westbrook have already signed extensions

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