Brooklyn Nets superstar and 2x NBA champion Kevin Durant is no stranger to controversies.
He is in the headlines once again, this time for his distasteful comments and threatening messages to Michael Rappaport, an American actor and comedian. Rappaport recently revealed their private conversation on social media, adding a new chapter to Kevin Durant's long history of controversies.
The Durantula is not one to back down, though. But his fierce competitive spirit, which is his greatest advantage, can also become his biggest weakness. He has a knack for getting himself involved in controversies. But there have also been instances when he has been dragged into some.
Steve Kerr's recent comments on how he had a better time coaching a losing Warriors squad last year than his time with Kevin Durant's ensemble that lost to the Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals would be one such example.
Over the years, Kevin Durant has managed to get himself in the spotlight for a host of reasons. From his decision to part ways with his longtime teammate Russell Westbrook to his fallout with Dubs after winning back-to-back championships, Kevin Durant has been no stranger to controversies, both on and off the court.
On that note, let's have a look at the top five Kevin Durant controversies over the years.
#1 Kevin Durant leaving Westbrook to join the Golden State Warriors in 2016
Kevin Durant stunned fans in 2016 when he parted ways with the OKC Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors.
The decision rocked the NBA universe and left his longtime teammate and friend Russell Westbrook scratching his head. It is safe to say that the duo has never seen eye to eye since then.
Durant further added fuel to the controversy, citing the reasons behind his decision to take his talents to California. In an appearance on the 'All the Smoke' podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Kevin Durant said:
"In OKC, I played with a lot of athletes. I didn't play with a lot of skill guys, not like shooters (&) ball-handlers. So after a while, my game started to grow and I was like, 'I need a change.' This was before the (2015-16) season even started. I was tired of being the only guy who could make threes, make jump shots and consistently make them."
His comments did not fly with Russell Westbrook, who has been holding a grudge ever since.
Their rivalry came to the fore this season when the Brooklyn Nets took on the Washington Wizards. Westbrook assumed control of proceedings for the Wizards, hitting the game-winning shot in a come-from-behind win to one-up his former teammate.
#2 Kevin Durant's altercation with Draymond Green leading to his departure from the Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant helped the Golden State Warriors win back-to-back NBA titles in 2017 and 2018, respectively. But things were not always pretty behind the scenes.
In an interview with the WSJ Magazine in 2019, Kevin Durant opened up about his time with Dub nation. He said he never got the treatment Draymond Green, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson received.
Kevin Durant also took a jab at head coach Steve Kerr, noting that his use of motion offense was not the right call for the team in the postseason and how they should instead have focused on isolation plays. Durant, coincidentally, thrives in one-on-one iso situations, especially during the playoffs.
Nevertheless, nothing comes close to his beef with another fun character, the always entertaining Draymond Green. The former teammates locked horns in a heated argument while playing against the LA Clippers in November 2018.
The Warriors were no match for their counterparts as frustrations boiled over, leading Durant to give a piece of his mind to Green, who immediately stormed out of the team huddle. The duo went on to record several such instances.
On the flip side, Draymond Green presented his side of the story in an appearance on 'All the Smoke' podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. Green alleged that Kevin Durant cursed while asking Green to pass the ball. He asked Durant to calm down, but it was in vain as the former Warriors star remained agitated.
#3 Kevin Durant's Twitter feud with Kendrick Perkins after the latter called Russell Westbrook the greatest OKC Thunder player
A game that marked the return of long-time OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook back to Chesapeake Energy Arena as a new member of the Houston Rockets last year in January witnessed the beginning of another controversy surrounding Kevin Durant.
It all started with Kendrick Perkins tweeting that Westbrook is the greatest player to have ever put on an Oklahoma City Thunder jersey. Soon other notable figures, including Kevin Durant, joined in.
Perkins and Durant would go back and forth on Twitter in an entertaining exchange. Check out the thread here.
Perkins, a former teammate of both Durant and Westbrook, later made an appearance on an episode of The Jump on ESPN.
Talking to host Rachel Nichols, Perk reiterated that Westbrook is the greatest Thunder player. The feud has since taken a life of its own, with both players doing their bid to keep the flame alive.
#4 Kevin Durant issued an apology for his comments on India
In 2017, Kevin Durant spent a week at the NBA academy in New Delhi. He was there to offer basketball lessons to prospects on his first trip to the country.
Later, Kevin Durant sat down with Anthony Slater of the Athletic for an interview, where he candidly shared his India experiences:
"Um, it was a unique experience. I went with no expectation, no view on what it's supposed to be like. I usually go to places where I at least have a view in my head. India, I'm thinking I'm going to be around palaces and royalty and gold — basically thought I was going to Dubai. Then when I landed there, I saw the culture and how they live and it was rough. It's a country that's 20 years behind in terms of knowledge and experience. You see cows in the street, monkeys running around everywhere, hundreds of people on the side of the road, a million cars, and no traffic violations. Just a bunch of underprivileged people there and they want to learn how to play basketball. That s— was really, really dope to me."
His comments expectedly didn't go down well, and the 2017 NBA Finals MVP had to take to Twitter and Youtube to apologize.
Interestingly, Kevin Durant also made history while in India. He created a new Guinness World Record for the largest basketball lesson ever recorded, as 3,459 participants took part.
#5 Kevin Durant forgot to switch to his burner account to defend himself anonymously
While he was still wearing a Golden State Warriors jersey, Kevin Durant got himself into another controversy on Twitter. This time Durant got caught using a 'burner' account to defend himself in response to a fan who had asked him for 'one legitimate reason' for the player to leave OKC Thunder for good.
The incident took place in September 2017, where Kevin Durant was supposed to use one of his dummy accounts to reply to the fan. Instead, he forgot to switch accounts and ended up talking about himself in the third person.
Kevin Durant replied to the fan with a tweet that read:
“He didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan. His roster wasn’t that good, it was just him and russ, imagine taking russ off that team, see how bad they were. KD can't win a championship with those cats".
Hawk-eyed fans quickly spotted that the response came from Kevin Durant's verified account, thus marking the beginning of yet another controversy.
Kevin Durant later explained his side of the story in an episode of The Boardroom, where he talked in detail about the burner incident. He said in this regard:
"I wasn't used to that much of attention from playing basketball. I wanted a place where I could talk to my friends without anybody just butting in my conversations or mixing my words or taking everything out of context. I enjoyed that place. I had an Instagram account that I just used for my friends and family. It was a cool place for me to just be me instead of worrying about Bleacher Report or Barstool ... I guess I tried to live a normal life out in the public, I guess."