Kevin Durant defends $670 million worth MLS ownership amid fan frustration

Philadelphia Union minority owner Kevin Durant responds to critics of the team on social media. [photo: Durant IG, Union IG]
Philadelphia Union minority owner Kevin Durant responds to critics of the team on social media. [photo: Durant IG, Union IG]

Kevin Durant, a minority owner of the Philadelphia Union in the MLS, is defending the reeling soccer team. The Union were at home on Friday against Inter Miami who didn’t have Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the roster. Both were on the inactive list as they were preparing with their respective countries for the Copa America.

Additionally, Miami played with nine men after David Ruiz and Tomas Aviles were sent off in the second half. Despite all of that, Philadelphia still lost 2-1 after Leo Afonso’s crunch-time goal. The loss made it seven straight home fixtures for the Union without a win (0-5-2). They now have a 4-8-5 record for 20 points, 18 adrift of the team that just beat them.

X, formerly Twitter, user Ron Kaiser commented about how the Philadelphia Union is doing. He didn’t hold back and dragged Kevin Durant into the conversation:

“The @PhilaUnion have been a major disappointment. Ever since they got to the MLS final a couple seasons ago, they’ve done nothing to build upon that season, yet expect fans to be loyal. No surprise they fall short, their one owner @KDTrey5 is well known for falling short.”

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The Phoenix Suns superstar responded:

“Or what Ron?”

Kaiser piled dug into his stance:

“How many teams have you demanded a trade from when things got tough?”

The Philadelphia Union ownership group is led by chairman and principal owner Jay Sugarman. Kevin Durant joined them by buying a 5% minority stake in 2020 with an option to buy another 5% at a future date.

Sugarman raved about the NBA superstar’s decision to become a part-owner of the team. He called KD’s participation “unique” and called him a “champion and sports icon” in an interview with ESPN during the same year.

Durant’s share was estimated to be at $16.25 million when the Union was roughly valued at $325 million four years ago. The team is now reportedly worth $670 million, making the former MVP’s share to be around $33.5 million.

Kevin Durant seems passionate about his ownership of the Philadelphia Union and is defending the team. He said in response to one of the critics:

“Real fans support through the tough times.”
Kevin Durant responding to a critic.
Kevin Durant responding to a critic.

Durant’s views about sticking through tough times are on opposing sides of the conversation. As an owner, he wants fans to support the team despite struggles. As a basketball player, he has jumped from one team to another to chase championships. Fans will not give him that boundary as a luxury. Based on the back-and-forth on social media, they’re not letting “KD” off the hook.

Kevin Durant’s Philadelphia Union isn’t capturing past glory in 2024

In Kevin Durant’s first season with the Philadelphia Union, the team finished with a 14-4-5 record but lost in the first round of the playoffs. The following year, they had a 14-8-12 card and appeared in the conference finals but suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to New York City.

In 2022, the Union made it to the MLS Cup Final but was dealt another heartbreak, this time, by LAFC. Philadelphia looked like it was headed for the championship until Gareth Bale’s header forced a 3-3 draw in extra time. Los Angeles eventually won the title 3-0 on penalties.

Kevin Durant’s team made it to the Leagues CUp semifinals last year but were drubbed 4-1 by Miami behind Lionel Messi’s magic. This year, they’re not likely sniffing the MLS playoffs with the way they have been playing.

Home fans have criticized the team particularly when playing in Philadelphia where they have drawn five and lost two in seven games. Durant can keep asking for support but many are left wondering: Would the part-time owner already have left or forced a way out had he been a player on the Union’s roster?

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Edited by Michael Macasero
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