It might seem like an eternity ago, but there was a time when Kevin Durant was the face of OKC basketball. He led the team in scoring, was (arguably) their best player, and was the guy fans thought would lead them to a Championship.
But for Russell Westbrook and other Thunder players at the time, they never saw KD as their leader.
Here is what ESPN’s Stephen A Smith said about the subject.
“Several people have come up to me. A couple of people who used to play in Oklahoma City. Several people that are incredibly familiar with the history of KD in Oklahoma City. They said when he was in Oklahoma City, he wasn’t viewed as the leader,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday. “They said it was hard for Russell Westbrook to follow him because KD, the man that you see right now, was a boy back then. And Russell Westbrook came in a man.
“So to go to Russell Westbrook and to ask him to follow that guy, Russell Westbrook was a man lookin’ at you like you’re asking him to follow a boy. I’m quoting. I’m not tellin’ you who. But I’m quoting folks that said that and it was more than one person.”
From the beginning, the Thunder were never sold on KD’s leadership. This distrust is likely what led KD to leave the Thunder back in 2016. In Golden State, KD’s leadership was again questioned — as Steph and Draymond Green appeared to be the ones taking control of the team.
In fact, in hindsight, it’s hard to think when leadership was not a big concern in regards to Durant. Perhaps he is seeking to prove his leadership in Brooklyn? Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see how he rebounds.