The similarities between NBA All-Star Kevin Durant and projected No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Cade Cunningham are uncanny.
At 6-foot-8 Cunningham is extremely long for his position just like Durant is, played in the Big 12 Conference as Durant did, and is expected to be an instantaneous difference-maker upon his entry into the league just like Durant was.
Before suiting up for his first and likely his only NCAA tournament appearance, Cunningham had a chance to sit down with KD and exchange in some friendly yet truthful trash talk with one of his biggest mentors.
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Kevin Durant Grills Cade Cunningham in Latest Interview
“Ya’ll did say that ya’ll were gonna be nice and I didn’t believe ya’ll. And I watched that game that ya’ll beat us [Texas] too and I was so pissed that we tricked that game off,” Durant told Cunningham over a virtual call via Boardroom.
Coming into the 2020-21 college basketball season Cunningham and the Oklahoma State Cowboys were not expected to make any noise as their roster did not have any household names outside of Cunningham. The game that would open much of the nation’s eyes was when unranked Oklahoma State beat sixth-ranked Texas, 67-75, in an overtime thriller.
“And then you hit that garbage-a** step back. That s*** was luck,” Durant continued.
“I was so hot, everything you were hitting before that was a little off and I was like yeah we about to take this game from them, and then you hit that one and I was like man I wish that boy would have went to UT. That boy should have been in Austin man.”
Durant’s alma mater would get the last laugh though, as they would defeat Cunningham and the Cowboys in the Big 12 championship game.
Durant Is a Big Supporter of the Next Generation
Durant’s relationship with Cunningham should come as a surprise to no one as he is one of the NBA stars who continually pay it forward to the next generation as often as he can.
Durant is one of the main investors of Overtime Elite a league allowing 16- to 18-year-olds to bypass high school, college, and play in a professional setting, where they can build their brand and develop for the NBA.
Players can earn at least $100,000 a year, receive schooling, transportation, hospitality, and access to pro-level training.
Ten-time NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is also an investor in the up-and-coming league. While it may seem like the goal of the league is to compete with the NCAA, Anthony insists that OTE would much rather be one of its allies.
“Going to college and playing college basketball is what it is,” Anthony said via Oregon Live.
“It never will change. The concept of Overtime Elite is not to disrupt that, but to give these kids opportunities because they are taking control of their brands and what they do, and social media becoming so powerful. Why not embrace that?”
The future of the NBA is in good hands with stars like Durant and Melo nurturing the next generation.