Long before Steph Curry was tabbed as the new "Golden Boy" of the NBA, that beloved moniker belonged to Kevin Durant. During his developmental years as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant led an upstart franchise with a promising roster that featured three future members of the "NBA's 75 Greatest Players" list, en route to one NBA Finals appearance and the only regular season MVP of his career thus far. Back then, he was known throughout the league and sports media as a happy-go-lucky superstar with a wholesome image. But when the 6'11 wingman chose to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder in favor of a far less challenging path to an NBA title with the 73-9 Golden State Warriors (back in 2016), he was subjected to a bevy of harsh criticism from the media, fans and former players alike. It turned him sour, and it changed his demeanor forever. Gone was KD's "Mr. Nice Guy" image, instead, he became labeled a "Cupcake" by his former teammate, Russell Westbrook, and "the most thin-skinned superstar in sports" by award-winning sports journalist Skip Bayless. Stephen A. Smith, the co-host of First Take on ESPN, even went so far as to call KD's decision to leave the Thunder for the Warriors "the weakest move I've ever seen from a superstar." Durant's former teammate, Mike James, recently dropped a bombshell that may cause Stephen A. Smith to reconsider his stance. James claims that the man who many refer to as the best basketball player in the world, openly admitted to him, during a phone call, that his Brooklyn Nets were going to lose in the first round of the NBA playoffs before the postseason was set to begin. If that's the case, there might come a time in the not too distant future when Stephen A. Smith reassigns his "weakest move I've ever seen from a superstar" commentary to Durant's most recent controversial statement.
In a recent interview with the Player's Choice podcast, Mike James talked about the way Durant embraced him as a teammate after he joined the Brooklyn Nets during the home stretch of last season. Then, he revealed some rather shocking information about his friend, that he probably should have kept to himself, given Durant's current lukewarm relationship with the sports media.
"When I got to the Nets, I think I only really knew [Blake Griffin] when I go there," James explained. "Kev was one of the people that vouched for Brooklyn to sign me. So, when I got signed, and we was going on the road, we just like a lot of the same stuff, and we ended up just hanging out with each other, every time on the road. He [always had] the big suite, so, I'd just go in there, play the game, kick it, talk, so we just got close. Then, after that, when I went back overseas, we were just like, 'alright whoever's season ends first, the other one's gonna come [visit to] watch the playoffs. When I first said it, I was like, 'okay, you gonna be in the [NBA] finals, I'm gonna get to watch the finals, that's lit. So when [the Brooklyn Nets] was trash and they was losing, I called him one day, I was like ‘You know what this means, right? You going to come to my playoff game.' He was like, ‘No way I’m coming to your playoff game,' and then like a week later, he called me before the playoffs started, he’s like ‘Yeah I’m going to be there."
Durant has yet to respond, in order to add more context to what his former teammate revealed. So, there is no way to prove if Durant made the statment that James alleged. Regardless, that hasn't stopped a number of popular spots shows such as First Things First and Skip and Shannon: UNDISPUTED from discussing the topic and critiquing Durant's competitive nature.