Kevin Durant has never been one to hold his tongue. In recent years, Durant has taken on the role of as the NBA’s most despised villain after joining forces with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and the Golden State Warriors. Since linking up with the Oakland-based basketball franchise, Durant has been able to acquire two NBA Championship rings and two NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards.
Now, with the nine-time NBA All-Star becoming more comfortable with his role as the bad guy, he has another hot take that casual basketball fans might not agree with and it has to do with the GOAT conversation.
Kevin, Kobe, & Michael
While speaking with Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kevin Durant had a noteworthy quote regarding as to who he considers the greatest to ever play the game on the professional hardwood. This what Durant had to say to The Athletic,
“But watching Kobe and Mike, I’m like, ‘How do you not realize how good these dudes are?’ How do you not say they’re by far better than anybody who’s played the game? Just by the way they move, how fluid they are.
Everybody that comes to my house, whether it’s friends or family, I make them watch Jordan highlights. This is equivalent to (Albert) Einstein … fucking (Ludwig van) Beethoven … or (Barack) Obama. This is the greatest talent and athletes and minds of the world. Just because they play sports, people think one way. But they’re masters, they’re geniuses. I just started realizing that a few years ago: Watching those guys can really spark my creativity.”
This isn’t the first time that Kevin Durant has expressed this exact sentiment. Back in 2014, the seven-foot phenom said the following about Kobe Bryant while speaking to Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News,
“He’s the greatest of all time. His skill is second to none. Him and MJ are neck and neck as far as skill,” Durant said. “Kobe is the top two best ever in just having skill, footwork, shooting the 3, shooting the pull-up, posting up, dunking on guys and ball handling. Kobe and Jordan are 1 and 1A.”
Is Kevin Durant Following in Mike’s & Kobe’s Footsteps?
Say what you want about Kevin Durant but he’s proven he’s been amongst the elite in the entire world over the past six or seven NBA seasons and he’s only gotten better. And that’s not only in regards to his offensive game where he’s developed a solid back to the basket offensive arsenal, improved his perimeter shooting, and knowledge of his opponents’ defensive sets. Durant has taken it upon himself to guard the opposing team’s superstar talent late in games and has become a defensive force in the paint as well.
But where did Durant get the initiative to improve his all-around game while on a stacked Golden State Warriors team? Look no further than his personal greatest of all-time in Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Throughout the careers of both Michael and Kobe, they were forced to modify their personal playing styles for the greater good and in order to achieve the ultimate goal in playing professional basketball, winning championships. As both players aged, they could no longer rely on slashing to the basket in order to score points and win games so, they developed master-craftsmen footwork and elite shooting ability. They also were determined to become forces on the defensive end of the court and eventually relied on their teammates to be in the right place at the right time in order to win it all (cc: Metta World Peace).
In a lot of ways, Kevin Durant has morphed into a modern version of what is now an old-school way of playing stylistically. He’s remained determined to make vast improvements on his game in the off-season despite playing nearly flawless basketball as an individual and as a team with the Warriors. This season alone, Durant is averaging MVP-caliber numbers of 28.8 points per game on 51.0% shooting from the field as well as 7.7 rebounds per game, and 6.2 assists per game.
There’s no denying that Kevin Durant is on his way to having a Hall of Fame career but, will the narrative of him being personally disliked ever die? Only time will tell.
The Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors are currently taking on the Toronto Raptors at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on ESPN right now. Tune in.