‘KD DMed me’: The story behind Kevin Durant’s messages about OKC

‘KD DMed me’: The story behind Kevin Durant’s messages about OKC

Writing about the former Thunder superstar always draws a reaction, but a reaction from Durant himself?

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

| Mar 28, 2024, 11:00am CDT

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

Mar 28, 2024, 11:00am CDT

Two subjects in Oklahoma always get a rise out of folks.

Lincoln Riley and Kevin Durant.

If I write about either, I’m sure to get responses. Emails. Texts. Social media comments. Direct messages.

That was the case back in February 2020 when I wrote about Durant, who returns to Oklahoma City with the Suns for a Friday night showdown with the Thunder. He’d gone on a podcast back then, again talking about Oklahoma City and again saying some not-so-nice things about people here. 

The responses came.

No surprise.

The surprise was in who responded.

KD DMed me.

Now, I’ve heard directly from athletes and coaches over the years about things I’ve written. Sometimes, they just want to say thanks. Sometimes, they have a beef. I get it. I welcome it. Good or bad. If I get to have my say, they should get to have theirs.

But usually, if I hear something from someone who’s as big a deal as KD, it’s through a third party. An agent. A PR person. A family member.

But hearing straight from a high-profile athlete? That is rare, and in this case, it was telling.

Here’s what it told me: KD looks more fondly on OKC than he might have let on over the years.

In recent days, his affinity has become more overt; in a podcast with longtime manager Rich Kleiman earlier this year, Durant talked with pride about what was built in Oklahoma City. But in February 2020 when he went on the “All The Smoke” podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Durant was less magnanimous. 

Durant said a lot of the same things he’d said previously about his OKC exit. Felt all the pressure was on him to make shots. Felt like the team hadn’t put enough talent around him. Felt like he wanted to play on a team with more shooters.

Same old, same old.

But when he was asked about a Twitter spat he’d had with former Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins, who’d said Russell Westbrook was the greatest Thunder of all time, Durant said this: “In order for you to praise Russell, you don’t gotta s*** on me. Because that’s what the fans and that’s what the media in Oklahoma City kind of made their money off the last four years is s***ing on me.”

To which I said: “Oh, really?”

As a member of that media in Oklahoma City, I guarantee pooping on Durant isn’t how I made my money during that time. I know it’s not how a vast majority of media made their money.

And I also guarantee that while Thunder fans let Durant have it whenever he came to town or contended for a title, they didn’t sit around fixated on him during those four years. After all, folks had Russ and triple-doubles and early playoff exits and Paul George coming and Paul George staying and Paul George leaving and reposition, replenish, rebuild to occupy their time.

So for KD to suppose that all of us here in Oklahoma City were sitting around pining for him? 

Pfffft.

I didn’t write anything ugly about Durant. Didn’t call him any names or anything. Just told it like it was.

“With the exception of those summer days right after he left in 2016, most of the times Durant has entered our discourse in Oklahoma City have been because of something he has said,” I wrote. “He’s said things — much of it kooky or vindictive or downright wrong — about the organization. The coaches. The players. The fans. Even the trainers and equipment guys.

“His words have riled emotions and ruffled feathers, and as a result, things have been said about what Durant said.

“But guess what? If he would quit talking about Oklahoma City, people here would stop talking about him.”

It seems as though that was what got KD fired up enough to send me a DM on Twitter. This was from his verified @KDTrey5 account. Believe me, I checked about a zillion times just to make sure.

“I talk about OKC,” he wrote in part, “because it’s MY LIFE, and your colleagues want to know. If (you) can’t handle it, then just ignore it and move on. Simple.”

I told him, “When you talk about Oklahoma City and its people, you are talking about OUR LIVES. That impacts people here as much as your truth impacts you. Ignore it? That is as difficult for us as it is for you.”

Then I had a proposal for Durant: since he’d never really spoken directly to people in OKC, only about people in OKC, why not do that? If he had something to say, I told him to give me a holler.

He responded by saying that he’d said nothing but great things about the city and its fans (debatable). That he couldn’t help that people are still hurt about things (truth).

Then he said this: “(You) know who I am and (you) know how I treated (you). Remember that.”

No question KD treated me great. He was awesome to deal with. Always willing to be interviewed. Never curt or short. 

And it made me think: I bet KD feels he could say the same to most folks in OKC because he treated people well during his time here. Yes, his leaving hurt like hell, but when he was a Thunder, he was as good as could be to OKC. On the court. Off the court. You couldn’t ask for much more. Even when his stardom exploded to supernova levels, he remained approachable off the court, bulldogish on the court.

Remember that.

I realize he said a lot of things publicly over these past eight years that made OKC wonder about his grip on reality. But those DMs have long made me think a little differently about KD. Yes, there were instances he made assertions that made me roll my eyes. Sure, there were times I thought he was lashing out because the criticism thrown at him stung more than he expected.

But in reality, he felt good about his time in OKC. Felt good about the Thunder and the city and the fans, too.

Seems like KD hoped OKC will eventually think of him the way he thinks of us.

“I didn’t need to put a billboard up or do a video because my time there meant more than that,” he wrote. “It was bigger than (that). You felt my presence. All of you. Personally. Consistently. You still do. Don’t let that bulls*** get in the way of the moments we shared … because I don’t forget.”

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Jenni Carlson is a columnist with the Sellout Crowd network. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniCarlson_OK. Email [email protected].

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