Everything changed for Kevin Durant that one fateful summer when he decided to leave the OKC Thunder and join the then 73-9 Golden State Warriors in free agency. Since that crucial decision was made, Durant has faced heaps of what seems to be never-ending criticism.
Whether it be on social media, television or another platform, NBA fans around the world berated Durant over his decision to join what was already widely thought to be the most talented roster in the league. As expected, the Warriors mowed through the NBA with Durant last year and took home their second championship in three years over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But, unsurprisingly, that didn’t diminish the scrutiny that came Durant’s way and that continues to this day as KD has turned into one of the most polarizing figures in the entire sports world with his fake Twitter accounts and conflicting personality. Durant recently held a revealing sit-down interview with Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher and discussed the criticism he’s received, comparing himself to arguably the greatest player to ever live:
“If I [respond], it’s: ‘No, you’re sensitive. Shut up. You’re supposed to take it. Everybody did it. Michael went through it.’ I’m like, hold up. Michael Jordan did not go through this. You know what Michael Jordan went through? Reading the paper and it says, ‘Oh, Michael Jordan was 7-for-33 the night before, how the f–k is he going to bounce back?’ That’s criticism. Criticism is not, ‘_____, you moved to _____, you’re a bitch, a coward.’ That’s not criticism. Criticism is calling me Mr. Unreliable and bouncing back the next night.”
Though Durant may be right about Michael Jordan’s criticism being different from what he’s dealt with, a lot of that has to be attributed to different factors, namely the rise of technology and social media. These tools have made it possible for nearly anyone to get online and chastise public figures such as Durant and he’s received no shortage of it.
During Jordan’s playing days which date back to over 3 decades ago, players didn’t have to deal with constant negative commentary from “fans” via social media. Instead, they usually had to tolerate maybe a negative headline or two in the newspaper, such as Durant pointed out so there’s no doubt the times have changed and players have become more accessible to the average person than ever before.
No matter his accomplishments, Kevin Durant will always have critics out there picking apart his every move and he’ll know it whether it be via television, the internet, or social media. In today’s day and age with media use so rampant, it’s beneficial for players to develop that thick skin, something Durant is clearly still in the process mastering.