Amid the Western Conference semifinals, Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant is making major moves off the court: He will be featured as a playable character in the popular war game “Call of Duty” starting May 10. And Durant’s co-star, Devin Booker, an avid player of the game, said he was excited for his teammate, sheepishly admitting that he was “jealous.”
“I talk about [the game] every day, and [Durant] didn’t even bring it up to me,” Booker told reporters during shootaround on May 3, according to Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. “I hit him up this morning, like, ‘Come on, bro. You weren’t even going to let me know. I need a code or something.’ But that’s exciting. I’m excited for May 10; I’m jealous right now.”
A statement from the game’s website said that Durant would appear as an “Operator,” named characters in the long-running gaming franchise.
“Kevin Durant — one of basketball’s greatest players of all time, whose MVP-caliber career continues into this year’s playoffs — will be immortalized in the 20-year Call of Duty franchise’s history as an official Operator. Fit for a man who defined his own franchise [in real life], KD will be available in a special, limited-time Store Bundle to be released with Season 03 Reloaded,” the release said.
“In addition to his Operator, the Bundle includes two Weapon Blueprints that reference his iconic nicknames: the “Reap This” AR Blueprint and the “Easy Money” Sniper Blueprint. Both Blueprints are built for the all-around Operator, just like how KD built himself up to be deadly all over the hardwood.”
Mat Ishbia Calls Out Dan Gilbert
Durant is not the only person in the Suns’ organization making headlines off the court. Suns owner Mat Ishbia told The Ringer’s Bill Simmons about his long-standing beef with Cleveland Cavaliers owner (and rival mortgage-lending magnate) Dan Gilbert, who was the only owner to not vote to approve Ishbia’s bid to purchase the Suns last year.
“I could go talk for hours on it or I could talk for a minute and the minute is probably easier: He doesn’t like me, and I don’t like him,” Ishbia said. “I don’t like the way they do business in a lot of things. He probably doesn’t like the way we do things. We’re in the same town. We compete. We’re winning. That’s what it is right now,” Ishbia said.
In 1985, Gilbert cofounded the firm that evolved into the nation’s largest mortgage lender, Rocket Mortgage, which is based in Detroit. Ishbia is CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, a firm founded by his father in nearby Pontiac, Michigan.
“I know he’s not doing [well] health-wise, I wish him nothing but the best,” Ishbia said, alluding to Gilbert’s ongoing recovery from a May 19 stroke. “But the reality is — in the mortgage business and now on the basketball floor, whatever it is — I’m trying to win at everything I do. And that’s what we’re going to be. And if someone’s done things the wrong way, which he’s done, I’m going to call them out on it and that’s what I’ve done.”
Chris Paul Expected to Miss Time
The Suns are already facing long odds of winning their series against the Nuggets after going down 0-2. But those odds could get even longer after Chris Paul suffered a hamstring injury in Game 2 and did not return. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the All-Star guard is not expected to suit up for Games 3 and 4, giving Phoenix an even steeper mountain to climb against Denver.
“Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul’s status is in doubt for Games 3 and 4 against the Denver Nuggets this weekend because of his left groin strain, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski,” ESPN reports. “He is expected to push for a return, but the possibility of recovering by Friday’s Game 3 in the Western Conference semifinals is believed to be a significant challenge, sources said. The Suns have officially listed Paul as day-to-day.”