Kevin Durant is still in search of a nickname – KD, The Slim Reaper, Iceberg Slim, The Servant, etc. Here’s a new one to throw into the mix:
The W.I.G.E., as in Worst Interview Guest Ever.
Appearing on the popular B.S. Report with Grantland’s Bill Simmons on February 17, 2014, Kevin Durant spent about ten minutes giving terse, monotone, and even testy answers.
I hate to say this, but KD came across as a jerk.
In some parts of the podcast, Durant sounded like some sort of nightmare combination of a Bill Belichick press conference mixed with a Gregg Popovich halftime interview, a shockingly terrible interview from a player who is so delightful to watch on the court.
Simmons + KD + All Star Weekend = Jerk?
And what made KD look especially bad is the venue.
The interview with Simmons took place at the All Star game, a weekend when NBA players relax, socialize, and party. They tend to be a little more playful and unguarded, so I was expecting a laid back interview with Durant.
Plus, Simmons has an unabashed man-crush on Durant and regularly lauds deserved praise on the OKC star.
As a regular B.S. Report listener I expected the combination of Simmons, Durant, and All Star Weekend to produce a fun and insightful podcast.
Instead, the back-and-forth left me squirming in my chair for Simmons as KD handled his questions like a bratty teenager answering back to his least favorite school teacher. The worst exchange went down between the 12:21 and 13:55 mark of the podcast.
Start 12:21 Mark
Simmons: “What changed with you where you were the second best player in the league heading into the season and then something snaps like right around the holidays and all of the sudden you’re playing out of your mind game after game after game. What was different?”
Simmons: “So what do you think it was?”
Simmons: “You just got hot?”
Durant: “I was just playing my game, to be honest. Nothing changed for me. My mindset didn’t change. My preparation, my focus, everything stayed the same.”
Simmons: “Feel more comfortable with your teammates, maybe?”
Durant: “I always felt comfortable with them.”
Simmons: “There’s got to be something. No speech? Nobody in your life gave you an inspirational speech?”
Durant: “Nah. It’s basketball, man.”
Simmons: “You didn’t watch a movie at like three in the morning and get fired up?”
Durant: “Nope. I just played. I just went out there and played.”
Simmons: “You seem…I don’t want to say you’re icy this season…but there’s definitely…I don’t know…there’s a hyper focus with you this year that seems a little different, like you’re just tired of —.”
Durant (sounding terse): “—What was it the years before that wasn’t—“
Simmons: “Ah, you were happy. I mean, definitely taking these little steps but now it just seems like you just want to win the title, that’s it. That’s all you’re thinking about.”
Durant (still terse): “I always just wanted to win the title.”
Simmons: “So what’s different, why do you seem different then?”
Durant: “Nothing’s different.”
Simmons: “So I’m imagining everything—“
Durant (interrupting): “—Yep.”
Simmons: (Nervous chuckle) “What about you versus LeBron? That seems like it’s becoming a thing.”
Durant: “We play them one time. We have 55 games, so we play them one time, so it’s not me versus LeBron at all.”
Simmons: “So it’s the media?”
Durant: “Yeah, of course. Of course.”
End 13:55 Mark
So to recap: Nothing’s changed. Who is LeBron James?
Gee, thanks for the insights there, Kevin.
In the ten minutes KD spent with Simmons he came across at best as bore with few original thoughts, and at worst as crusty and condescending.
To Durant’s credit, he ultimately did open up a little bit more as the interview went on. He spoke with Simmons in answers that lasted more than one sentence about needing to reduce his turnovers, the difficulty of the Western Conference, his teammates, and a potential self-appointed nickname of “The Servant.”
But I don’t think “The Servant” captures who KD really is.
Because for now, he’s the W.I.G.E.