Durant has made several controversial decisions over the years: leaving OKC for Golden State, then leaving Golden State for Brooklyn. He eventually left the Nets too. Durant was criticized for ring-chasing with the Warriors, then laughed at for leaving and failing to reach the same mountaintop with the Nets.
Despite the messy Golden State Warriors breakup, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are still close friends all these years later.
Kevin Durant spent three years with the Golden State Warriors from 2016 to 2019. He won two championships and two Finals MVP awards. Had it not been for a ruptured Achilles the third time around, he probably would’ve won three of each.
That’s not how it ended, of course. Durant got hurt and Kawhi Leonard brought the title to Toronto in 2019. Then Durant entered free agency and, amid rumors of conflict with Draymond Green and others around the organization, he made the decision to depart for greener pastures in Brooklyn.
The rumored enmity between Durant and Golden State has never died down, and the combination of Durant’s prolific social media presence and Draymond’s naturally combative attitude have only heightened the rumors of discord.
Even so, Durant won two titles with the Warriors. He will be forever linked to that franchise and that core. He will primarily be linked to Stephen Curry, the only Warriors player who can credibly be called Durant’s equal, his partner in crime. And, after all these years, and despite all that controversy, those two remain tight friends.
Stephen Curry comes to defense of Golden State Warriors co-champion Kevin DurantThe Warriors’ point guard released a new documentary titled “Stephen Curry: Underrated,” which released Thursday on Apple TV+. The doc includes footage from 2021, when the Warriors faced the New York Knicks — and, more specifically, when Stephen Curry broke the NBA three-point record.
Who else was in attendance but Kevin Durant, who was “leaving his house to grab food” when he realized Curry was making history down the street. Still with the Brooklyn Nets at the time, Durant made his way to Madison Square Garden to share a special moment with his former teammate (h/t Tristi Rodriguez, NBC Sports).
“I love that dude, man,” Curry told reporters. “The most misunderstood dude in this freaking league right there.”
It’s a touching moment between two players who will be eternally intertwined. The NBA is a very melodramatic league, but too often fans conflate business moves with personal vendettas. Durant wanted to play with his friend Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn; he wanted to expand his entrepreneurial ventures to New York and expand his résumé. That never meant he hated Golden State and felt anything but love for him teammates there (with the possible exception of Draymond, who has chased his fair share of teammates away from the Bay Area).
And Steph is right: Durant is misunderstood. And not in the way Kyrie Irving is “misunderstood.” Durant is one of the greatest players to ever touch the basketball and he’s out here on Twitter beefing with everyday fans. His relationship to the game and to the fans that consume the game is unique; not necessarily in a good or bay way. Simply, unique.
NBA fans are great at moving the goalposts and, at the end of the day, Durant is like most other NBA players: he loves the game, but he’s not completely consumed with basketball. He definitely cares about public opinion — maybe more than most — and there’s no doubting his love for the game. But, he has interests off the court and he embraces the inherent conflict between NBA stars and the broader NBA fanbase. He’s an object of obsession and constant ridicule. It’s hard to sit here and earnestly criticize him for occasionally zagging when the whole world wants him to zig.
Curry probably understands this better than most. Any animosity between them, if there ever was any, is water under the bridge. When we look back two decades from now, we will remember Curry and Durant as one of the most potent duos in league history. Hopefully the NBA fanbase can embrace that sooner than later.