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Kevin Durant dislikes dark ‘Slim Reaper’ nickname

Feb 3, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

Kevin Durant, Nicolas Batum

To compete at the highest levels, Michael Jordan channeled something inside himself, something dark and menacing.

Sometimes, it made him really unlikable, even to his teammates. But it also separated him from several similarly talented players to the point there’s little debate about the greatest player of all time.

Jordan’s mean streak both helped him win six championships and embarrass himself during his Hall of Fame acceptance speech. He couldn’t turn it off. There was nothing phony about it.

Because Jordan has become the standard for any wing superstar that has followed him, several members of the current generation have tried to emulate Jordan’s competitive nature – not only in intensity, but style too. Kobe Bryant flashes a similar rage at times, and after resisting for a while, so has LeBron James.

Kevin Durant, though, has been different.

His on-court persona ranges from calmly focused to jubilant. He never really seemed to be playing from a place of hate – at least until Russell Westbrook’s latest injury.

Since then, Durant’s in-game demeanor has seemed a little more angered, a little more cold. Maybe he’s mad about having to carry the load himself. Maybe he’s mad about critics too quickly writing off the Thunder. Maybe he’s mad about something else in his life we know nothing about.

But he has looked at least a little different, and that’s coincided with him playing the best basketball of his career.

During this stretch, he’s gotten a new nickname – “Slim Reaper.” (Personally, I wasn’t ready for Durant to outgrow “Durantula.” He’s so long, and he’s so skilled, it sometimes seems as if he’s working with more arms than the rest of us.)

He’s also thin and slays opponents, though, so “Slim Reaper” fits the Durant we’ve seen lately. But is this who Durant has become on the court? If so, the nickname should stick. But if he reverts to his previous demeanor once Westbrook returns, it probably won’t fit that well anymore.

If Durant had his druthers, the nickname would change before that.

Durant, via Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

“I’m here to shine a bright light,” Durant said. “I’m not here to be a guy of, I guess, death. I just like KD better.”

“That name is what it is,” Durant said. “It’s cool to have a nickname somebody else gave to you. It’s kind of weird if you make your own nickname up. But to have that out there, I guess, is cool…Everybody’s been loving the name. I think I’m the only one that really doesn’t like it too much.”

Good luck, Durant. I’m not sure there’s an NBA player who’s expressed more dislike for his nickname than Andre Iguodala, and nearly nobody has stopped calling him “Iggy.”

But if Durant wants any chance of dumping his new nickname, he must return to playing with a little more outward joy in his game, because the Durant we’ve seen lately definitely seems like a Slim Reaper.

  1. timb12 - Feb 3, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Nicknames are tough to get rid of or create. Ask George Costanza.

    • norcalkingsfan - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      Cantstandya right?

      • timb12 - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        There was the one episode where he tried to be called T-Bone, but ends up being called Koko, like the monkey.

    • pfic15 - Feb 3, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      Do we have a “gammy”?

    • ProBasketballPundit - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:34 PM

      George is GETTING UPSET!

  2. knicksmets - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    It fits him perfectly, and its a pretty sick nickname I don’t see why he doesn’t like it, though that may just be preference. He’s been playinoretty angrily lately and I think it will stick. kD and Durantula don’t have the same ring at least in my opinion slim reaper does. He sounds badass with it.

  3. calkinsrob - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    I had no issues with MJ’s hall of fame speech. Its different than the rest, but he didnt embarrass himself

  4. greenwhodat26 - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    You can’t nickname yourself(if you do then you are the biggest tool in the world), and you can’t choose to not have a nickname. That’s not how it works. I don’t care how self-entitled you feel, you are less than a man if you disagree.

  5. norcalkingsfan - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    I think slim reaper is one of the better nicknames I’ve heard in a while.

    Other cool ones… The glove, the custodian, junk yard dog, half man half amazing, the truth, the answer, his airness, the dream, the mailman (even though I can’t stand Malone), big country, pistol Pete, Larry legend, magic, the dream, franchise.

    Self appointed nicknames are weak. Sorry kobe, I don’t care how deadly you are, black mamba is a weak ass nickname; just for the simple fact that you gave it to yourself.

    Amare’s STAT is pretty lame too.

  6. antistratfordian - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    I don’t think Slim Reaper is going to stick – it doesn’t fit him, it’s too negative and awkward – especially for such a religious player. Plus, he just doesn’t like it, so that isn’t going to help adoption rates.

    I remember a few years ago when Durant complained about Durantula and said he’d prefer to be called K-Smooth (or was it K-Smoove?). I’m glad he realized that K-Smooth is just as bad as anything else. I will respect his wishes and go with KD.

  7. 00maltliquor - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Remember when Big Baby wanted us to stop calling him Big Baby?

    • antistratfordian - Feb 3, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      Well if you’re big and you look like a baby… going to be hard to shake that.

      Sure, KD is slim, but I’m not sure about the “reaper” part.

      • money2long - Feb 3, 2014 at 9:04 PM

        u actually need help understanding the reaper part , smh

      • antistratfordian - Feb 3, 2014 at 9:14 PM

        No. Big and Baby fit Glenn Davis more than Slim and Reaper fit Kevin Durant. KD, the devout christian guy who is not allowed to have a tattoo exposed because his mom said so – who was last seen in the finals crying in his mommy’s arms – is no reaper.

        Might as well call Chris Bosh “Slim Reaper.” No. No fake tough guys are allowed to be called a reaper anything.

      • money2long - Feb 3, 2014 at 9:26 PM

        yeah, because we all actually think kd is going out there taking people lives.

      • money2long - Feb 3, 2014 at 9:29 PM

        can’t call bosh reaper because he aint no killer.
        it’s the reason kobe has the name mamba, the deadliest snake, because his game is that deadly. like kd’s is deadly. you’re being so literal when trying to make your point that you fail to understand the connection of a reaper to kevin’s game.

        blah blah glen davis looks like a baby blah blah…
        ok, kd is not murdering people, stop making a literal connection. yeah he praises God. that should be no hindrance to you understanding why calling him slim reaper makes sense. you’re slow.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 3, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        You’re missing something. A good nickname also fits your personality. They don’t call Peyton Manning “The Sheriff” just because of what he does on the field – he walks around like one. Ever see him walk into a stadium….? Fits perfectly.

        Black Mamba works with Kobe because it also perfectly fits his personality – it’s not just about his play. Kobe might actually assault somebody out of the blue, like a snake you unknowingly encroach on. “Reaper” would fit Kobe.

        But Durant is not that guy regardless of how many daggers he hits. Imagine trying to officially nickname Earvin Johnson or Michael Jordan or LeBron James something as grimdark as “reaper” – doesn’t work. They’re killers too but it doesn’t fit them either for the same reasons.

        So I don’t think this one is going to stick. It’s also awkward to actually say. I doubt you’re ever going to hear Mike Breen say, “Bang! The Slim Reaper strikes again!”

      • money2long - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        ok, yes, reaper because his game is a killer.
        mamba is called a mamba because he is a snake
        you just proved my point.
        silly rabbit.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 12:03 AM

        kobe is a snake in real life – thats why he is called mamba. in any case, this name won’t stick. im right. you’re wrong. as usual.


      • mcmystery76 - Feb 3, 2014 at 10:03 PM

        “Slim pock mark” doesn’t have much of a ring to it

      • money2long - Feb 6, 2014 at 12:26 AM

        My case isn’t that the name will still. Pay attention you silly rabbit.
        My case is that it’s hilarious ur having a hard time wrapping your feeble little mind around the “concept” of reaper. Anti: durrrrrr wats a reaper nickname connection mean dur dur *drool*.
        It’s to the point where ur actually saying Kobe is an actual snake that slithers in grass with fangs and reptile skin.
        You are the dumbest person on this site mainly due to ur arrogance of always trying to be right that you won’t care how stupid it will make u look.

        The reaper moniker is not because durant goes around taking people’s souls. Nicknames are not literal. Please tell me how many letters Karl Malone has delivered.

        U moron.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        Why are you so dense? It has absolutely nothing to do with it being literal or not. It simply isn’t a good nickname for Kevin Durant for several reasons and you agree that it will not stick. Good. My point has been made. Moving on.

      • money2long - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:18 PM

        I never said I was makin a point that it wouldn’t stick either. Man U have trouble reading. Smh ! I was only making one point. Ur so stupiddddd.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:49 PM

        You are incapable of making any point at all. You’re a child.

      • money2long - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:55 AM

        goo goo gah gah ?

  8. vikesdynasty - Feb 3, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    MJ made a fool of himself at his HOF speech? I thought it was Classic Jordan. Just win baby

  9. mp4philly - Feb 3, 2014 at 5:20 PM


  10. asimonetti88 - Feb 3, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    Whatever you call him, make sure you follow it up with “Best Player in the NBA”

    • antistratfordian - Feb 3, 2014 at 6:48 PM

      …not after his last game. If a game like that is still in the cards… sorry, but the shoe doesn’t fit.

      • knicksmets - Feb 3, 2014 at 7:54 PM

        Antistratfordian everyone has a bad game once and a while, even Jordan and all the other greats can struggle they are humans after all.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        I was just being cheeky. Seriously though, when LeBron comes out of a month like KD’s January his PER is up around 35. Articles come out about whether or not he’s going to shatter the PER record. KD comes out of a month like that with his PER at 31 – where James’ usually settles by the end of the season. KD will probably settle around 29 – who knows after Westbrook comes back, could be lower.

      • money2long - Feb 3, 2014 at 9:05 PM

        we’ll keep this in mind next time you try to harass someone for making a judgement call on one game.

  11. jusdre313 - Feb 3, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    well i guess Im alone.. I like the nickname.. was kinda hoping it stuck

    • eugenesaxe1 - Feb 4, 2014 at 2:14 AM

      I think it’s one of the coolest nicknames in the game. But I’m also a fan of calling Damian Lillard “0men”, which a lot of folks can’t stand.

  12. stayhigh_247 - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    That is a dumbass nickname, who would want to be associated with death? Seriously, what moron came up with that? people have way too much time on their hands these days..

  13. ProBasketballPundit - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    I’m glad Durant doesn’t like ‘Slim Reaper’. That means it’s gonna stick. If I learned anything about working with a bunch of jocks it’s that the more you protest your nickname the more it’s used. (For me it was a mispronunciation of my last name.)

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