So far, this season, NBA star Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors has been kicked out of 5 games. That’s a lot.
In fact, it ranks third on the all-time list – number one being Rasheed Wallace.
During a recent post-game press conference, Durant addressed his ejections, telling SB Nation: “If being ejected from games is a sign of a character flaw. I hope you don’t look at it that way…Mainly just foul calls that I think are wrong and I tell them about it. They don’t like how I say it. I get tossed. I could definitely talk to them a little better I guess.”
Durant’s been characterized as a “villain” but is that fair?
Let’s look at the evidence.
On the court, the guy has built a bad-boy rep.
March 30th: Kevin was tossed from the game before the first half ended after he yelled what many heard as expletives to the referee over what he believed to be a missed call on a play. The Warriors went on to lose the game.
December 1st: Durant was immediately ejected after jawing with a ref over not getting a foul called on a play he scored on. He had some choice, non-PC words on his way off the court as well.
December 5th: 4 days later KD and New Orleans Pelicans’ Demarcus Cousins get into a heated argument which required the two being separated and ended in both being ejected.
July 4, 2016: Durant breaks fans’ hearts when he announces his departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder to play with the Golden State Warriors – a rival team that defeated the Thunder in the playoffs months before.
Moving forward, tensions between former Thunders teammate Russell Westbrook and Durant could be seen, as the two feuded on the court. The clashes often escalated into the exchange of words with one another.
In one heated match up after a timeout was called, prior to joining his team in the huddle, Westbrook stopped at mid court and screamed at Durant, “I’m coming for you!”
Nonetheless, when he’s not on the clock, KD has a record of giving back in a huge way.
- He was a finalist for the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award
- He donated $57k towards building a school, a Positive Tomorrow, for the city’s homeless
- In 2015 the Texas Longhorn alum created “Build It And They Will Ball” – a charity foundation with the mission to enrich the lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds through educational, athletic and social programs.
His time spent helping others off the court was recognized by Time magazine, which named him one of the world’s most influential people.
Kevin is also prepping a scripted basketball drama for Apple.
“People who tell me I’ve changed – when you don’t take time to get to know who I am…You can’t tell me who I am based on how I act on a basketball court,” Durant told The Atlantic. “That doesn’t make sense and that’s not fair to me.”
OK, let’s get to know a little more about Durant:
During his 2014 MVP acceptance speech Kevin tearfully discussed life growing up in Baltimore and the challenges that his mother and brother faced. The three of them were frequently moving from apartment to the next, not knowing if they’d have the necessities like food and clothes. #35 ended his speech lifting his trophy, letting his mother know she was the “Real MVP.”
So, KD has demonstrated a lot of generosity off the court which may balance his string of ejections during the games.
Should famous athletes be held up as role models? Not really, said retired NBA legend Charles Barkley.
“…Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”
Perhaps Kevin best shed light on who he is when he told ESPN, “I’m not like this perfect, buttoned up, suit-and-tie guy. I like what I like, I am who I am, I know what I want to do, you know what I’m saying? I’m not trying to be like what I thought an NBA player is supposed to be growing up.”