Kevin Durant has already cemented his legacy as an all-time great. Fans may not be fond of his decision to join the Golden State Warriors, and may be critical for his lack of championships with the Oklahoma City Thunder - but you won't find many basketball resumes as impressive as that of Durant. He had been among the most respected players for many years, but inking a deal with the Warriors made him the most hated player in the league since then.
Durant has also become much more outspoken since then, landing himself in hot waters for outspoken comments in the media. As one of the most controversial figures in the NBA today, Durant has made some enemies along the way - many players who either dislike his attitude or don't hold him in high regards after joining a championship team. Whether it's on the court or social media, Durant has never held back against his critics even when it happened to be fellow NBA players.
Despite having fallen out with many players, Durant is still fairly popular around the league as he has many close friends to this day. Durant happens to think highly of these players - most of whom are his friends in real life - although they likely had to impress him through their player first. When it comes to the greatest players, they are always going to have associates and rivals in the game - KD has been no different. With today's list, we look at 10 NBA players Kevin Durant respects and 10 he doesn't.
20 Respects: James Harden
Kevin Durant and James Harden spent several years together as teammates for the Oklahoma City Thunder until the team had to split up the core. Of course Harden has taken his game to the next level since then to become the 2018 MVP, as well as one of the most dominant scorers of all-time. Durant has always praised Harden's game through media comments, and it seems like he has tremendous amount of respect towards his former running mate. It would have been intriguing to see OKC in modern times if they had retained the two star players beyond a few seasons.
19 Doesn't: Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid has become one of the most discussed players in the past two years due to his level of play as well as his unique personality. Known for talking trash to opponents, Embiid has made many enemies along the way including Kevin Durant. While the latter acknowledged his talent as a basketball player, he wasn't quite as fond of Embiid's antics on and off the court. Durant didn't shy away from criticizing Embiid for his behavior, which has also annoyed many other NBA players. But at least it makes for some dramatic and interesting battles on the NBA court.
18 Respects: Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic is already earning plenty of headlines for his impressive level of play as a rookie, and you can count Kevin Durant among those who have great respect towards his game. Following the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks' game in November, Durant had some high praise for the rookie as a player, while also adding that the Mavs are in good hands with him leading the way into the future. Durant can be selective with whom he praise, so it obviously means a lot when he comes out to compliment Doncic for his brilliant performances thus far in year one.
17 Doesn't: Rudy Gobert
When Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors, it was met with a lot of criticism around the league. Rudy Gobert tweeted out "Only problem there's only one ball" - and that tweet seems to have created a conflict with Durant and the fanbase. Fast forward to the 2017 playoffs, Durant and Gobert exchanged words on more than one occasion and even came to blows during Game 3. It's very clear that the two players don't get along well. Durant doesn't take too well to criticism regarding his free agent decision, so it is understandable as to why he doesn't view Gobert very highly.
16 Respects: Kyle Lowry
Despite leading the Toronto Raptors to many consecutive impressive seasons, Kyle Lowry still doesn't get plenty of praise from the media and fans alike. But players do hold his game in high regards as evident by Kevin Durant's comments throughout the years. He has always had nothing but praise for the Raptors guard, labeling him as the perfect PG due to his all-around game. They have also been teammates in the past as members of Team USA, which only increased the amount of respect that Durant has towards Lowry. The latter always returns the compliments towards Durant so it is mutual respect between them.
15 Doesn't: Bogdan Bogdanovic
In his rookie year, Bogdan Bogdanovic was impressive enough to be named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. He had many great performances throughout the season, and made some rivals along the way including Kevin Durant. It happened during a game between the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings as the two players began talking trash to each other, which eventually led to a scuffle between them. It was very clear that Durant didn't exactly respect Bogdanovic by the way he reacted to him during the game. The sophomore might have to put in more work to impress Durant in the future.
14 Respects: Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard has been among the best guards in the league for the past few years. While his team hasn't had plenty of success in the postseason, Lillard is still highly respected by his peers. You have LeBron James claiming that he would like to play with him, and Kevin Durant referring to him as a Hall of Famer. Given that his career is still ongoing, Lillard's resume may not be enough to guarantee him a spot in the Hall of Fame, although Durant seems convinced that he is already worth of making it there - as stated earlier this season.
13 Doesn't: Chris Paul
Kevin Durant and Chris Paul have had several heated battles on the court going back to their days with Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers respectively. That same energy has remained as they moved on to new teams, and it reached its peak during the Western Conference Finals of last year. They got into it a number of times throughout games and Paul was caught on camera telling Durant to "Shut up and play ball" - while the latter was seen having a heated exchanged with Paul's brother on the sidelines. Despite being two of the best players in the league, they don't have much in common between them.
12 Respects: Kyrie Irving
In a recent interview, Kevin Durant stated that the players who have impressed him the most are Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Kyrie Irving. Many were surprised to see the latter included since he isn't quite on the same level, but Durant had high praise for Irving's ability to move and create his own shots. He would also go on to refer to Irving as one of his best friends, so it is clear that there is plenty of respect between the two All-Stars. Rumors have also linked both players with a move to the New York Knicks in the summer, as they may be interested in teaming up.
11 Doesn't: C. J. McCollum
Kevin Durant always rejects any criticism regarding his decision to move to the Golden State Warriors, so when C.J. McCollum called it soft via Twitter - KD couldn't help but chime in with his opinion. He referred to McCollum as a snake for talking trash about him in public when Durant had just finished making an appearance on his podcast. They exchanged many back and forth tweets so it's safe to say that Durant has lost all respect for McCollum based on what his replies. Given what McCollum had to say in the first place, it appears that he didn't exactly respect Durant either.
10 Respects: DeMar DeRozan
When it comes to DeMar DeRozan, he doesn't have plenty of enemies in the NBA. He is one of the least controversial All-Star players, and it seems like he is greatly admired by his peers. Kevin Durant is among the many players who respect DeRozan not only as a basketball player, but for his personality as well. In the past, Durant claimed that DeRozan had the best footwork that he had ever seen in the NBA, and that he always watches tapes of him to learn pick up on some moves. That is very high praise that shows how highly KD thinks of DeRozan.
9 Doesn't: Steven Adams
Steven Adams and Kevin Durant were teammates for a few seasons as members of the Oklahoma City Thunder, although they didn't exactly get along from the start. When Adams was drafted by OKC, Durant responded to the news by tweeting "SMH" - although he ended up deleting it shortly afterwards. In Adams' autobiography, he didn't hold back at all when it came to Durant and was very critical of his former teammates. While KD didn't directly respond to him, it was reported that he didn't like some of the things Adams had to say about him - so it's safe to say that he has been added to Durant's list.
8 Respects: Kawhi Leonard
A few years ago, Kawhi Leonard would have ended up on the other side of this list. Kevin Durant had referred to him as a system player, adding that Leonard highly benefits from being coached by Gregg Popovich. But he did end up changing his mind later on, and went as far to admit that his assessment of Leonard was wrong. Durant gained plenty of respect for Leonard since then, referring to him as one of the most impressive players in recent years. This past summer, they were spotted working out together alongside LeBron James, so they are clearly on good terms now.
7 Doesn't: Enes Kanter
From former teammates to rivals, Enes Kanter and Kevin Durant haven't been seeing eye-to-eye since the latter joined the Golden State Warriors. Following his departure from OKC, Kanter was critical of KD on Twitter, and threw many subliminal jabs towards him. For example, he praised Russell Westbrook for re-signing with the Thunder and not joining the enemy - which didn't go well with Durant. There was another time when Kanter told a kid to burn his KD jersey, and the latter had a harsh response for him. That's not to mention that they have gotten into during a game earlier this season.
6 Respects: Paul George
Not only is Paul George a good friend of Kevin Durant, but he also happens to be his current favorite player. KD has made that statement a number of times in recent years, referring to George as one of the most complete players in the NBA. They grew closer to each other as teammates for USA Basketball, especially since they share many similarities on and off the court. George seems to be equally as fond of Durant as he has also had some complimentary words over the years. But when it comes to their on-court battles, their friendship is usually put away for the time being.
5 Doesn't: Russell Westbrook
There was a time when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were very close friends, as well as arguably the best duo in the league. But things have changed since Durant's decision to abandon the Oklahoma City Thunder, which didn't please his former teammate. Westbrook has been critical of Durant in interviews, although he changed his tune later on by simply ignoring questions related to him. Durant didn't appreciate his approach to the topic, which only added to the tension between them. It seems like it may take some time for the two former friends to make amends on a personal level.
4 Respects: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo has dazzled everyone with his player and unique skillset to become one of the most discussed players today. He earned some comparisons to Kevin Durant early in his career, although he is certainly a different type of player. Last year, Durant had some extremely high praise for Giannis during a Q&A in which he claimed that he could become the greatest basketball player in history. Some fans didn't take too kindly to that comment, believing that Durant was exaggerating with his assessment of Giannis' potential - but it goes to show how much he values him as a player.
3 Doesn't: LeBron James
Kevin Durant and LeBron James were once very good friends, but it seems like their friendship has taken a hit since the former joined the Golden State Warriors. That's not to mention that KD has made some comments about James that weren't perceived greatly, such as claiming that players didn't want to be apart of a LeBron team. KD has always expressed his desire to not only reach James' status, but also surpass him when it's all said and done. He believes that the media gives LeBron a special treatment compared to other players, including himself, which doesn't bode well with Durant.
2 Respects: Stephen Curry
One of the main reasons as to why Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors is the amount of respect that he has towards Stephen Curry. While he clearly knew that the back-to-back MVP would be an incredible teammate to have, Durant also realized that Curry wouldn't mind sharing the spotlight with him. There have been no issues between the two thus far as they have gotten along very well. Playing next to Curry has been a great experience for Durant who always praises his teammate in the media, going as far to say that it is an honor to play with him.
1 Doesn't: Draymond Green
Draymond Green was another decisive factor in bringing in Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors, as he recruited him in the summer of 2016 to join them. While they did get along very well in the beginning, their friendship has deteriorated in recent times and reached a low point earlier this season when they had a confrontation on the court, and then again behind the scenes. That led to a one game suspension for Green handed by the team, whom reportedly dared Durant to leave the Warriors in the offseason since they don't need him to win - while the latter also had some harsh words in return.