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Kevin Durant on besmirching Kawhi Leonard: ‘I apologize(I really don’t)’

Jun 18, 2014, 11:06 AM EDT

Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant just invites controversy on the internet.

The Thunder star had online run-ins with The Game and Lil B – and rappers don’t seem to be the main problem. It might just be Durant.

After Kawhi Leonard won NBA Finals MVP, Durant tweeted (since deleted, but captured in screen shot) about Leonard in relation to Paul George:

Plenty of people – many Spurs fans, I’m sure – rejected Durant’s characterization. So, he addressed the complaints on Facebook:

This the last time I’m gonna talk about this. I did not hate on Kawhi Leonard , quite honestly If you knew me or been around me, you would see how excited I was for such a young humble guy. But this world loves conflict I see. I really gave major props to coach pop and the whole staff for putting those guys in great positions to be successful. I’ve realized u can’t say anything about a champion so if I hurt anybody’s feelings I apologize(I really don’t) but u get my drift

There’s no need for Durant to apologize, and I’m glad he did didn’t. He’s entitled to believe one player is better than another.

I compared Leonard and George a couple times during The Finals. Their similarities are interesting.

Durant could have just claimed he was rejecting the “all day” aspect of the Leonard-over-George argument. To claim one is definitely more valuable than the other is fairly ridiculous.

Instead, we get “I apologize(I really don’t)” – which is an even better response.

  1. robigd - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    KD is going from such a likeable guy to a punk. Is this all from playing with RW all these years?

    Not sure if Leonard using Sprint, but his framily isn’t getting any bigger. Leonard can only keep going up. I think KD has peaked and is a terrible defender.

    • jj871 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      Sorry but anyone who actually believes Kevin Durant, fresh off his first MVP award at age 25, has peaked, is guilty of sheer idiocy.

    • reesesteel23 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      Damn….its just the man’s opinion. Are you a punk for having an opinion on KD being a punk?

      • robigd - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        The guy was a main proponent of dismantling KD’s team on their home floor in route to a Finals MVP trophy. There isn’t really much opinion to be had… mainly fact.

      • reesesteel23 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        Good point.

    • mckaymatt - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      Well…Leonard won finals MVP, not going to take that away from him (not that I could), but he won it while playing great defense and providing average points,rebounds ect. He shot incredible from the floor but with the ball movement and offensive system they run, definitely helps his efficiency numbers.

      You could have made an argument for probably 2 other spurs in the series for finals MVP.

      Paul George may play in the weaker eastern conference but he also doesn’t play with one of the top 10 players ever, who still plays at a high level, and with 2 other hall of famers (borderline if you want to argue against it).

      I don’t think Durants comment is hating as much as stating his opinion, and i’m sure if you ask 30 GM’s in the league who they would take, it wouldn’t be 100% Leonard.

      • fanofthegame79 - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        I agree. This year, the Finals MVP could have gone to the entire Spurs team.

      • azarkhan - Jun 18, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        I would have preferred the MVP be shared by Diaw, Leonard and Ginobili. That would not only be more accurate, but would be a fitting way to honor the Spurs, a team like no other in the NBA.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      How on earth could you be this sensitive? Especially after just winning it all! Just be happy and relax. Who cares if kevin durant said he likes paul george more? how does it affect you? Wow!

      • kavika6 - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        I haven’t heard Kawhi complaining. I’m sure nobody has.

      • urodaddy07 - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        To whom are you directing this comment ? Kawhi hasn’t reacted to it as far as I know

    • damos10 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      I agree with KD. if you think about it, if you put Leonard in the Pacer’s slow bump & grind offense, he wouldn’t be as effective as he is in the spurs ball movement. everybody in the spurs offense move with or without the ball so it’s hard to target who will take the next shot. if you put someone like Paul George who is a better shooter and slasher (although a weaker rebounder) he would shoot the lights out. people make more out of a statement than what it actually is

  2. hwatt - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    I assume he was thinking who’s better 1-on-1, no systems, no coaches, no teammates, in which case KD is leaning George.

  3. bucrightoff - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Paul George is somewhat inflated by getting to play in the horrible Eastern Conference. Kawhi also plays 20% fewer minutes than George on average (because Pop is a genius at minutes management), so there’s that as well.

    But Kawhi’s got the hardware both George and Durant wants, so my guess is he couldn’t really care less what Durant thinks, he knows Durant is jealous of not having a ring.

    • apkyletexas - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      Just one question for Durant – would you trade your league MVP for Leonard’s finals MVP? If the man has what you want, and he doesn’t want what you’ve got, then the only one looking foolish by speaking up its you.

    • campcouch - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      Leonard does have the luxury of playing for a pretty offensively diverse team. He’s not really put into the position of carrying a primary offensive load. But I would guess any 2 or 3 with similar skills would flourish in a system that has Duncan,Parker and Manu in it…not to mention Diaw and Mills having the postseason series of their careers.

      • conjecture101 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        There are very few 2 and 3’s with similar skills. That is the point. Most players can’t do what Leanord does. He affects every aspect of the game. He can guard the opposing teams best player, force him into a low percentage shot, rebound the ball, bring it up the floor himself, and then score it or create a score for a teammate. It’s a very short list of players with “similar skills.” He is also a full year younger than Paul George and has already been to back to back NBA Finals, with MVP level performances in each of them at the age of 22.

      • bball242322 - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        conjecture101 – not to take anything away from Kawhi, very special talent but – PG has better defense (1st team all defense over LBJ), PG all-nba 3rd team…Kawhi 2nd team all defense(behind PG), no all star award…Kawhi 12.8 ppg average, PG right around 21 ppg. PG is forced to be the #1 option every game (which forces double teams and other defensive schematics against him), Kawhi 3rd of 4th option surrounded by HOFers….Need i say more?

      • imakcds - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        man, you guys talk about similar skills, but this is the NBA, talent is boundless and everywhere.
        The difference, and it always has been, is the mental and emotional maturity of the player.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      I love the ol’ “oh yeah? Well who has the rings, huh?” argument. That’s how I settle all basketball arguments between individual players in a team sport. For example, BJ Armstrong is better than Barkley. Why? More rings bro!

      • azarkhan - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        LOL (and you’re absolutely right)

      • conjecture101 - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        Yeah, rings for role players is not a good argument. Finals MVP’s however, there is some validity to that argument. If you’re considered the best player in the NBA Finals your name won’t be Steve Kerr.

  4. kb2408 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    I like KD but what he said came off as petty. Kawhi is probably one of the last guys anyone should want to criticize. The dude is as quiet and unassuming as any NBA star could possibly be. Pop and the Spurs had to basically force the guy into shooting the ball more because of his obvious respect for the more established Spurs. As for KD, I am not one of them, but some people don’t even think he’s the best player on his own team.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      why must we all be SO politically correct nowadays?

      he isn’t putting him down, just saying he likes George better is all.

      It’s no different than saying Bush is better than Obama.

      Some folks like living in the country, some in the big city

      different kinds of music to like, foods to eat, clothing styles to wear, ways to wear our hair..

      and we may like certain players more than others, even KD may have players he likes better than others.

      LET THE MAN HAVE HIS OPINION…

      YOU have YOUR opinion on many things too

      • khadeemw - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        Hes just stating his opinion…its not a big deal….n I definitely agree with him…u put kawhi on the pacers I think he would be lost in the sauce…the spurs play a style of basketball that alkiws kawhi to play to his strengths…while the pacers run some of the worst offensive sets possible

      • heat256 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        Yeah, but when you put stuff out there and then delete it, it’s a sign you put your foot in your mouth and look kind of weak for either retracting it so fast or letting others dictate what you can and cannot say. Player A can say Player B sucks balls, as long as he stands by it. Why say something unless you mean it? I’d rather have KD (or anyone) say what they feel and leave it out there, for good or bad.

      • conjecture101 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:57 PM

        Nowadays? Do you think if somebody with zero rings said that one of Phil Jackson’s stars was a “system player” in the triangle, that people wouldn’t go crazy?

    • khadeemw - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:13 PM

      Is that a kd problem or a Scott Brooks problem

    • urodaddy07 - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      Didn’t hear any criticism of Kawhi. He just sad PG is better

      • theblackrook - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        The criticism was saying that Kawhi is only doing what he’s doing because the system he is in.

  5. 5xchamp24 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    I guess he realizes now that winning the league MVP didnt really mean a thing, cause its all about the ring.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      3 MVPs & no rings = first ballot hall of famer lock
      5 rings & no MVPs = may not even make the hall of fame

      So MVPs do mean something.

      • 1historian - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:17 PM

        Wrong – it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that ring!

        Right yesterday, right today, right tomorrow,.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        Do you think Joel Anthony would trade his 2 rings for 2 NBA MVPs? I think he probably would.

        MVPs are immortalized in the Hall of Fame and remembered forever – and they make more money. Any scrub at the end of the bench can get lucky and win a ring or three.

  6. campcouch - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Just stop responding to nonsense on twitter. You know you can’t express what you want on there,you’d be typing all day.

    • 5xchamp24 - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      Twitter was the worst thing invented for athletes anyway.

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        Hands down the worst.

  7. azarkhan - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    “He’s doing work like this because of the system”

    Well KD, maybe if you worked within a “system”, you would have an NBA championship ring by now. BTW, what is wrong with a system that integrates every player into the teams offensive/defensive schemes and maximizes each players talents, abilities and opportunities?

    • robigd - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      “Hero ball” is technically a system these days. Westbrook is a master of it.

      • azarkhan - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        I’m a huge fan of Russell Westbrook and “hero ball” seems to be a disease that most American players have contracted. I don’t really blame KD or Russ for not playing within a system because their organization doesn’t demand it. I just wonder why Sam Presti, who spent several year with the Spurs, doesn’t have Scott Brooks install one.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        @azarkhan – if Durant was on the Spurs they wouldn’t be running the system they’re running now.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      Nothing is wrong with a system that integrates players well – KD is just talking about giving credit where credit is due.

  8. csbanter - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    KD just lost some cool points, but let’s not put him in ‘jerk’ category just yet. Everyone in this day of social media is allowed one blunder or two…

    • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      Not everyone.

  9. kavika6 - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    I love KD. He’s just a little bitter right now.

  10. hannsta - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    I dont see this as bitter at all. Its just a true observation. No need to jump on people when they say something besides the cookie cutter bland media response.

  11. antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    “Oh no don’t criticize my Kawhi! I love him! I wish all black players were like him because most of the other ones scare me. Oh why can’t all black people be like Tim Duncan… sigh…”

    All kidding aside… there is a strange phenomenon in fandom that Leonard is benefitting from – and race does play a part sometimes – but fans are more than willing to overrate you and ignore your shortcomings if you’re quiet.

    • kinggw - Jun 18, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      Sad but true

      • azarkhan - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        Two sad, pathetic white boy progressives playing the race baiting card, the only card they know. What else is new? BTW, do either of you think your head will ever come out of your a@@?

    • urodaddy07 - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      Hope this comment is not yet finished because you have yet to make a point, or at least one relevant to the post

      • antistratfordian - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:55 PM

        No, it’s relevant. People are attacking KD even though he’s clearly justified in saying what he said. They’re attacking him because of the Kawhi lovefest, which is driven by what I’ve said here.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jun 18, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      I’m not sure where the race card comes into play with all of this.

      But I do agree that there is a Kawhi love fest right now. Paul George is a better player with a higher ceiling. He was “#3″ by most accounts behind LeBron and KD this season.

      One series does not make a superstar, especially when he was the Finals MVP by default (they had to give it to someone on the winning team). It could have easily been Boris Diaw’s for the taking or even a co-MVP between them (or the entire Spurs team).

  12. caeser12 - Jun 18, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    Translation: “If my team had a structured system predicated on ball movement, interchangeable parts, unselfish, disciplined, high basketball IQ Guys, and excellent coaching, what would happen?”

    He’s just asking for some help in the nicest way possible.

  13. justorion - Jun 18, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    I liked when Durant was more like Leonard and let his game do his talking. I love that Leonard never has a crazy celebration moment where he beats his chest or pretends to be unstoppable. I hope he stays that way.

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