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Champions in the NBA feed on doubt, criticism


Clark Matthews January 12th, 2011

Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant receives a lot of accolades. Coming into the season, NBA pundits bent over backwards to proclaim Durant as the “odds-on favorite” to win the MVP.

Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant receives a lot of accolades. Coming into the season, NBA pundits bent over backwards to proclaim Durant as the “odds-on favorite” to win the MVP. Opposing players fawn over his abilities. His performance in the FIBA World Championship tournament had journalists across the globe proclaiming him as the best basketball player on the planet.

It is pretty clear that Durant’s abilities are pretty well respected. But he doesn’t want to hear about that. What the NBA star hears are the critics.

Last season, during simpler times, the expectations for the Thunder were minimal. Coming off a 59-loss season, any kind of fight the team put up was seen as remarkable. While the team started showing their promise en route to more than doubling their prior year win total, Durant went to Twitter (the vehicle he uses to communicate directly with fans) to downplay the many compliments he was receiving.

On expectation he could win the scoring title, which he did, in fact, accomplish: “And yall talkin bout me winnin a scorin title..hell no..melo n lebron get 40 too easy..can’t forget kobe n dwade, and dirk..wow.”

On suggestion that he was a better player than LeBron James: “stop comparing me to bron… hes on another level!! cmon people..be serious.”

Last season, during simpler times, the expectations for the Thunder were minimal.

Things have changed a little lately.

With the hype machine raising the bar to an unreachable level, there has been grumbling about Durant not living up to expectations. Keep in mind, he is leading the league with 27.5 points per game and his team is on pace to win 55 games, but it is not enough. The same pundits who leaped to call him the best player in the world are now questioning whether he is the best player on his own team. Fans are grumbling whenever he misses a shot.

This Durant does not downplay.

Recently, his communications to fans have been more melancholy.

“People build you up to break u down smh (shaking my head)...ive learned that since being blessed enough to join this league #randomthought.”

He even sought out Royce Young (who alternates weeks on this Commentary) to question the online journalist’s faith, or lack thereof, in his play: “I read ur posts alot, seems like ur doubting me too buddy but it’s all good..” Considering Royce’s first reaction to this (“Kevin Durant reads what I write? This is the best day of my life!”), it is probably a stretch to say that he doubts the player at all.

That is beside the point. Champions feed on doubt. You never hear someone holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy thank all the people who knew they would do it all along. The shout-out is always directed at those who told them they could not do it. Even Kobe Bryant, who has won five championship rings in his 13 professional seasons for a coach who has won 11 in total, derives his motivation from proving his adversary Shaquille O’Neal wrong.

So with that in mind (and tongue in cheek), I’ll say it: Kevin Durant sucks.

Matthews is an editor of the local news and entertainment blog TheLostOgle. com.


SPORTS

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Jersey Nets, NBA basketball, 7 p.m., Dec. 29. Oklahoma City Arena, 100 W. Reno, thunder.nba.com. WED

Oklahoma City Thunder vs.

Atlanta Hawks, NBA basketball, 7 p.m., Dec. 31. Oklahoma City Arena, 100 W. Reno, thunder.nba.com. FRI

Oklahoma City Barons vs.

Texas Stars, hockey, 7:05 p.m., Jan. 1; 3:05 p.m., Jan. 2. Oklahoma City Arena, 100 W. Reno, www.okcbarons.com. SAT-SUN

 
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