Stephen A. Smith and Kevin Durant have had a complicated relationship over the years. Smith was a big fan of Durant’s talent and game when he was first rising among the ranks while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. But their relationship drastically changed once Durant jumped ship and joined the Golden State Warriors in 2016.
The Golden State Warriors were coming off back-to-back NBA Finals appearances, where they won in 2015 and lost in 2016. The Warriors defeated Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in 7 games, completing a 3-1 comeback over the Thunder, before having the same happen to them at the hands of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
After the embarrassing capitulation in the 2016 Western Conference Finals, Durant became a free agent. In one of the most shocking and scrutinized moves in recent NBA history, Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors in the offseason, joining the team that kept him from the NBA Finals in 2016.
One NBA personality who was extremely critical of Durant’s move was none other than Stephen A. Smith. Smith famously called Durant signing with the Warriors ‘the weakest move by a superstar in NBA history’. These comments did not go down well with Durant, so much so, that even his mother confronted him on First Take after Durant won an NBA championship with the Warriors.
Since then, Durant and Smith seemed to have made amends. But recent comments by Stephen. A seemed to have reinvigorated their beef.
Smith recently commented on the controversy surrounding the Brooklyn Nets, and how the decision to leave the Warriors to join the Nets with Kyrie Irving, and eventually James Harden, could hamper his legacy, as Harden is rumored to want to leave the Nets, and Irving has only been a part-time player due to his anti-vaccine stance and New York’s vaccine mandate.
Durant did not appreciate these comments, calling out Stephen A. online, and bashing him for trying to question his legacy. Not one to take this lying down, Stephen A. Smith responded to Durant in an elongated Twitter thread, noting that he was questioning the impact his stint in Brooklyn could have on his legacy, rather than questioning his legacy itself. Smith did not hold back in his response at all.
Okay. Stop the b.s. Religiously I’ve been on the record calling you the best in the WORLD. This is not about your game and you know it. We all know you’re great and you’re a champion. We will celebrate that forever when you’re DONE playing… But right now, YOU ARE PLAYING. Chapters are still being written. You’re measured by what’s taking place in the moment. And with all the stuff that’s gone on w/ KYRIE, if y’all don’t win but Steph does, the narrative in a lot of folks eyes is that you left Steph to join HIM (in Brooklyn). Period. I don’t wish it. I’m not rooting for it. I’m just calling it like I see it, and also based on what we’ve seen folks do for years. None of us get to control that narrative. We just have to call it for what it is. I meant no disrespect to you and you damn-well know it. I’m simply pointing out that you have to win, or else there’s going to be a narrative that you don’t like. The Nets are YOUR team. Folks will look to YOU. That’s what comes along with GREATNESS……. which is what you clearly possess. You want to go back and forth? We can do that... But it ain’t necessary. You know exactly what I mean and if you’re confused, you know the number. The last thing I am is hard to find. #Respect
Stephen A. does have a point, but clearly, KD thinks that Smith’s comments are coming from a place of malice. The two have had a very volatile relationship, and this is yet another chapter in that relationship. Perhaps they will be able to put this row behind them and maintain a good relationship.
Durant has not responded to Stephen A.’s remarks. It won’t be a surprise if Durant does, given how this debate between the two started on Twitter. But Stephen A. clearly was not going to allow Durant to slam his opinions just like that. It will be interesting to see how this debate plays out going forward.