The sports world was turned upside down yesterday when L.A. Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant penned a poem to the sport of basketball on The Players’ Tribune announcing that this would be his final year in the NBA, which sent shockwaves through social media.
Bryant, who is the closest thing that any of us have seen to Michael Jordan, might have had a Hall of Fame career and be in make the case for being one the top-10 players in NBA history, but Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant would make it seem like the media’s treating him like nothing but a scrub.
Speaking to NewsOK, here’s what Durant said when asked about his first thoughts after hearing about Bryant’s announcement, and it includes some strong words about the media treating the Mamba pedestrian-like:
“I did idolize Kobe Bryant. I studied him, wanted to be like him. He was our Michael Jordan. I watched Michael toward the end of his career with the Wizards and I seen that’s what Kobe emerged as the guy for us. I’ve been disappointed this year because you guys (media) treated him like s***. He’s a legend and all I hear is about how bad he’s playing, how bad he’s shooting, time for him to hang it up. You guys treated one of our legends like shit and I didn’t really like it. Hopefully now you can start being nice to him now that he decided to retire after this year. It was sad the way he was getting treated. He had just an amazing career, a guy who changed the game for me as a player mentally and physically. Means so much to the game of basketball. Someone I’m always gonna look to advice for anything. Just a brilliant, brilliant, intelligent man. Sad to see him go. He put his mark on the game.”
Durant continues to praise Bryant like a younger brother, saying he’s, “the greatest player to ever play the game” during his particular era, so it’s easy to see Durantula has a clear man crush on Bryant—especially since he was his idol.
About that whole, “media treating him like shit,” part, though, that’s a whole different story. Durant is smart enough and talented as hell on the basketball court to realize that when a guy whose averaged 25.3 points per game in his career is shooting just 30 percent, dropping 15.5 per game this season and has looked like the guy jacking up airballs in a pickup game left and right, he deserves to be shit all over.
Just as Durant has expected greatness from Kobe, so should fans and the media. So, while a a fellow superstar, Durant shouldn’t have gone the hardass route here to try and stand up for a Black Mamba who has lost a lot of his venom.