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Photo of Kevin Durant smoking tweeted from his account

Jan 10, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

pbt kevin durant smoking

Kevin Durant’s twitter account, late last night, featured the image at right.

For a player whose public identity is intentionally clean-cut – business tattoos and such – the photo was somewhat surprising.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with Durant smoking hookah, which is most commonly filled with tobacco, a legal substance for adults like him. But such high-profile athletes with so many endorsements don’t generally make a habit of displaying their drug use, even when it’s legal. Some people don’t want their kids exposed to that, and they could always respond by avoiding products endorsed by the celebrity.

Durant also presents himself as a perfect competitor, even though that’s as much a myth about him as it is for anyone else with the label. Nobody can devote 100 percent of their life to competing, and Durant doing something that could lower his lung capacity – and adversely affect his on-court performance, even if by the smallest degree – is proof. Durant is as relentless as they come, but that doesn’t mean he completely lacks vices. (Nor should he. Being perfectly devoted to basketball is unhealthy and probably miserable. Thankfully, again, nobody can reach that level.)

If there’s a scandal here, it’s that you saw the picture, not that the events it captured happened. And in that scandal, Durant is the victim.

Thunder teammate Nick Collison vouched for Durant:

Durant might have to answer a couple questions about the picture, which he deleted, but then this should all blow over (pun intended).

  1. bostonian13 - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    You said it, it’s legal. Big deal. A non story. No difference from him posting this picture and baseball players chewing tobacco….cut it out.

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Even if it was weed, they were in Denver where marijuana is now legal.

      • somekat - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:04 AM

        but as an NBA player, the law is irrelevant

        If the NBA has a sack, they would drug test him immediately

        BTW, I smoke (tabacco, and pot), that is NOT tabacco smoke. Unless he’s smoking from an old Cobb pipe, tabacco smoke doesn’t come out that thick

      • antistratfordian - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Just because weed is legal in Colorado or Washington doesn’t mean an NBA or NFL player can smoke it there. It’s still a prohibited substance in both leagues.

      • asimonetti88 - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        Yes, I recognize the law takes backseat to the league’s regulations. But honestly, who cares. I’m tired of sports playing morality police. See: Baseball HOF.

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        I just hope he doesn’t start untying players shoelaces.

        -shoelace bandit

      • 00maltliquor - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:24 PM


        Hookah smoke does. Or vape smoke.

        But he waaaas in Denver, Colorado though……

      • onlyavoice - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:10 AM

        Dope Head, Brain Dead point of view.

    • spthegr8 - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      The way he has been balling lately, maybe EVERYBODY in the league should smoke Hookah. Just Saying. Is it really that big of a deal…???

      • antistratfordian - Jan 10, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        Well what he’s saying with these photos is that he’s not serious about being in absolute peak shape for $85 million. Maybe they need to pay him more.

        He’s trying to go up against proven winners that are disciplined about their lifestyle and diet – everything optimized for winning basketball games – he even complains about coming in second to those guys – yet he’s always pictured sitting around smoking hookah…

      • danfrommv - Jan 15, 2014 at 2:00 AM

        Is that you Rasheed?

    • stayhigh_247 - Jan 10, 2014 at 6:53 PM

      Bad business move though. Squeaky clean = more endorsements.

  2. billsfanaddict - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    But such high-profile athletes with so many endorsements don’t generally make a habit of displaying their drug use, even when it’s legal …having a shisha [molasses, tobacco & flavoring slow ‘roasted’ over burning coals] in a hookah lounge is not “”drug use”” or even legal drug use or close to it.
    Its basically akin to your grandpa smoking pipe tobacco out of his corn cob, not attractive/endearing of course, but nothing like what youre trying to describe, unless of course you consider cigarettes as drugs, in which case, then, ok.

    • Dan Feldman - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      “unless of course you consider cigarettes as drugs”

      Uh, yeah.

      • danfrommv - Jan 15, 2014 at 2:02 AM

        How can you tell what the substance is from this picture. Could be legal, or (federally) illegal

    • fanofthegame79 - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      It is a drug. It’s a legal drug, but it is very much a drug (just like alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, etc.). It’s not bad, but we can’t say it’s not a drug.

      • cheathamhouse1 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        don’t forget Advil…

      • cheathamhouse1 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        don’t forget Advil…

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Technically the nicotine is the drug, and a cigarette is just the carrier vehicle. But that’s like saying a blunt isn’t a drug because it’s the THC that’s the drug, not the blunt.

      Anyway who cares. Alcohol is a drug. Viagra is a drug. Even caffeine is a drug. There are legal drugs and there are illegal drugs.

  3. cheathamhouse1 - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    Johnny Blaze

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      are flinstone vitamins drugs too?

  4. apkyletexas - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    “For a player whose public identity is intentionally clean-cut – business tattoos and such – the photo was somewhat surprising.”


    Don’t try to be something you’re not. The truth will out you.

    Besides, if it’s legal – remember, this is the NBA we’re talking about, not the PGA tour – then who really cares?

    Be yourself, Durant. Not some false marketing version of yourself.

  5. adoombray - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    People smoke things, from Hookah to very-much-legal Marijuana, to electronic cigarettes, to electronic hookah’s. This is the kind of thing that might have been controversial 30 years ago

    • antistratfordian - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      Smoking tobacco is much more controversial now than it was 30 years ago. I think an athlete smoking anything has always been controversial, but it was more common in the past to be this forthright about it.

      It’s just rare to find an athlete posting pictures of themselves smoking during the season – it sends all types of negative messages not only to fans but also to his employers. And this isn’t the first time for KD. Sure, he says he was hacked, but he’s posted similar pictures himself so what’s the difference?

      • asimonetti88 - Jan 10, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        Vlade Divac smokes cigarettes at halftime in the locker room. Vlade dgaf.

  6. coryfor3 - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Umm…how do we know it was a legal substance? There is no proof of anything other than that he was smoking up something. I just assume about 75% of NBA players or more are smoking weed.

  7. coryfor3 - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    People smoke alot of things and they aren’t all legal and they aren’t all safe or things that are “no big deal.” Who knows what he’s actually smoking? Could be tobacco. Could be weed. Could be something way worse.

  8. georgegsmiller - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Smoking tobacco from a hookah? Riiiiight… gotcha on that one. I woke up this morning and saw a pig fly. The Easter Bunny called as well. Come on you can come up with a better story than that.

    • danfrommv - Jan 15, 2014 at 2:04 AM

      Hookah tobacco smoking is widely done in the Middle East (no, not Akron OH)

  9. adoombray - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Also, for those of you out there who think he couldnt be hacked like that, read the story of what happened to Birdman. that lady wasn’t even that smart and she had total control of his electronics. it’s scary and I just hope that the stuff we DIDN’T hear about on this story isn’t too sketchy

  10. legend30 - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Whoever believes Durant was smoking, has the IQ of JR. Smith … Look at the picture, it’s obviously fake.

    • antistratfordian - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      KD is known for smoking hookahs and cigars (and who knows what else). You can always find him in some sort of hookah joint – he’s posted pics of himself smoking a few times before.

      • legend30 - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        I’m just saying that picture was fake. He looks 300lbs in that picture. And I don’t blame him for smoking, because he has to play with Perkins.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        If it was fake don’t you think he’d say that instead of, “obviously its me smoking hookah, but I didn’t post it.”

      • asimonetti88 - Jan 10, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        it’s Kobe’s fault

  11. doctordunkenstein - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    KD is awfully defensive about a pic with some hookah smoke isn’t he? Durant smoking some of that sticky icky icky

  12. hollywood26 - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    Most of the bigger clubs and lounges nowadays have hookah service so i’m curious why everyone is shocked. Oh, and quite a few athletes smoke hookahs and cigars. MJ used to come to practice with a cigar in his mouth.

    • antistratfordian - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      He really shouldn’t be smoking during the season (we don’t know when this photo was taken, but he has posted hookah pictures in-season before). Children who look up to him probably shouldn’t see him smoking either – at least, I’m sure that’s what his mother, agent, GM, publicist and Nike would advise.

      MJ would never have been caught smoking at Durant’s age. The first time I ever saw Michael Jordan with any sort of tobacco product in his mouth was in 1991 after he won his first ring – age 28. But that was justifiable, having just won a championship – it goes well with the alcohol that’s being doused on everyone.

      But we only started to see MJ more and more with a cigar as he got older and started to be less paranoid about image control and shoe sales, etc.

      • Kurt Helin - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:45 PM

        No, Jordan just drank in season. That’s much better for you.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:32 PM

        Well he certainly wasn’t trying to put photos out there of him drinking when he was 25.

  13. haterhurter937 - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:21 PM


  14. boobcok - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    can someone address the real issue of how lame it is to take a ” look at me, I’m smoking!” selfie?

  15. ranfan12 - Jan 10, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Must’ve needed something to calm his nerves after getting ripped a new one by denver lol

  16. georgegsmiller - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Only Dopes smoke Dope… quote from Cheech & Chong

  17. 950003cups - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    I believe him when he says he didn’t tweet that. Not sure who would do it. But it happens more than you think.

  18. hiiiznberg - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    It was TSA.

  19. censoredpost - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    It was weed. That is all. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  20. shaggytoodle - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    Peanuts kill more people each year than the poot.

  21. peddealer - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:49 AM

    @KURT HELIN… After a very long time of reading your articles, and response to readers comments it was finally good to hear a good zing from you!
    This from a fan who berates you for your lackluster work, a nd ridiculous lack of proofreading for a “professional blogger”.

    Also, I would bet a crisp Ben Franklin that Kurt also had the queerest look on his face as he wrote that…

  22. johnnydow - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    This is why the NBA has turned off many fans. Even the ones trying to pretend they aren’t thugs are thugs.

    • urodaddy07 - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      Spoken like a a white racist. Hope I’m wrong

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