Kevin Durant has accomplished more than enough in just eight NBA seasons to warrant consideration as one of the greatest to ever play the game. Sure, he has not yet won an NBA Championship, but with an NBA MVP Award, five First-Team All-NBA selections and four scoring titles, Durant’s accomplishments through his age-27 season are not far off from Michael Jordan’s at the same stage.
Despite the fact that the Thunder superstar is undeniably one of the best players in the league and is a threat to win the MVP in any given season, Durant holds a reputation as one of the league’s most humble and likable players. He further cemented that reputation while giving an emotional speech after accepting the 2014 NBA MVP Award, choking back tears to thank his mother for all of her sacrifices over the years while also taking time to note the vital contributions of his Thunder teammates and coaches.
Even though Durant remains one of the most well-liked players in the NBA today, he is not without his detractors and has succeeded in drawing the ire of a fair amount of opponents and teammates alike. Durant has even had a few recent run-ins with members of the media, going so far as to tell a group of reporters at the 2015 NBA All-Star Game that they “really don’t know s---,” representing a sharp departure from the polite and humble persona he had cultivated.
While his status as one of the most likable players in the league remains largely intact, Durant has still done enough over the years to earn the enmity of opponents, teammates, media members and even a rapper who may or may not have cursed the six-time NBA All-Star. The following 15 people appear on this list because they have either expressed or intimated a certain degree of dislike for Kevin Durant. At the very least, each one has good reason for disliking the player who will likely be in the conversation for best in the NBA for several years to come.
15 Damian Lillard
When Kevin Durant’s selection as a 2015 NBA All-Star drew some criticism, most observers noted that it was Lillard who should have made the team instead. When asked about the snub, Lillard admitted to feeling slighted, saying, “I feel really disrespected,” before adding, “I’m definitely going to take it personal. I said I’d be pissed off about it, and I am.”
Despite having only played in 22 games for an OKC team that was only a game over .500 at that point, Durant bristled at the suggestion that Lillard – or anyone else for that matter – should have made the All-Star team over him, and he offered a subtle jab at the Blazers guard by saying, “Whoever want my spot can play me one-on-one for it.”
14 Tony Allen
As Memphis’ best defender, Allen is often tasked with shutting down the best players in the league, including Durant. The OKC star even admitted that Allen had an effect on his focus and had gotten in his head during the 2014 NBA Playoffs, so it was more than just a little odd when Durant referred to Allen’s defense as just “OK,” while also referencing how often Allen had been “cooked” while trying to guard him. So perhaps it was with Durant’s comments in mind when Allen, a four-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection, said that James Harden -- not Durant -- was the only player he hasn’t “figured all the way out yet.”
13 Kenneth Faried
Defending Durant is not exactly an easy task, so it should come as no surprise when defenders try to get physical with the slender Thunder forward. Durant, frustrated with Faried’s physicality, shoved the Nuggets power forward to the floor and then attempted to add insult to injury by tossing the ball at Faried while he was still on his back. Faried’s embarrassment was only intensified by the fact that Durant, the player he was charged with shutting down, went for 40 points (he shot 13-for-19 from the field with seven 3-pointers) in a game the Thunder ultimately won.
12 LeBron James
LeBron may not feel much dislike for his USA Basketball teammate, but he has expressed feelings of jealousy over Durant’s role as the primary scorer in Oklahoma City. With three more scoring titles than LeBron, King James felt the need to point out midway though the 2013-14 season that Durant's scoring titles may be more a product of volume shooting than anything else, saying, "I get jealous sometimes when I look over at KD and he's like 16-for-32 (from the field) and then 14-for-34. ... Man." James also implied that he could equal Durant’s scoring prowess under different circumstances, but also made sure to point out he’s “not much of a forced-shot guy.”
11 Chris Paul
Even though Durant has described Paul, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony as “big brothers to me,” that didn’t stop the 2014 NBA MVP from talking trash from the OKC bench during a 131-108 dismantling of the Clippers in February of 2015. After crossing up Mitch McGary and hitting a jumper in the 6-10 rookie’s face, Paul stared down the Thunder bench, leading Durant to embarrass the Clipper guard on national television by repeatedly yelling “You’re down 20 now homie,” to Paul as he ran back down the court.
10 Kawhi Leonard
Winning the NBA Finals MVP really ought to bring a measure of respect from players and coaches throughout the league, but that wasn’t exactly the case when Leonard earned the accolade following San Antonio's title run in 2014. Durant, whose own quest for the title ended at the hands of the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, minimized Leonard’s accomplishment by attributing his success to the San Antonio system. Though Durant later walked the comments back, surely Leonard, the 2015 Defensive Player of the Year, was more than irritated to have one of the best players in the league imply he was not deserving of the Finals MVP.
9 Steven Adams
When Adams was drafted by OKC in 2013, Durant expressed his displeasure with the return on the draft pick acquired in the James Harden trade by tweeting “smh.” He then offered a less-than-excited and unpunctuated tweet that said only “Welcome Steven Adams,” and it certainly didn’t help that Harden was busy tweeting “Steven Adams loooooooooooooooool.” Icy welcomes aside, Adams has endeared himself to Durant and the rest of the OKC roster with his physical play, but he could not have been thrilled with having deal with a chilly reception from the team’s best player.
8 Dwight Howard
Howard may be one of the most hated players in the NBA, as he has been repeatedly insulted by some of the game’s best players. In 2014, an injured Durant added his name to the list of NBA stars holding a low opinion of Howard by repeatedly telling the Rockets big man "You’re a p----" during an argument near the Thunder sideline. Howard cannot be pleased that he is so frequently a target of derision, especially when it routinely comes from superstars like Durant, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.
7 Chris Palmer
@ChrisPalmerNBA means a lot coming from a dude who got fired for being a dumbass— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) February 3, 2015
Palmer, a longtime basketball writer at ESPN before the company decided not to renew his contract in 2013, expressed puzzlement over the Thunder’s signing of Nick Collison to an extension worth $7.5 million, saying via Twitter, “Dude who averages 3 pts & 3 rebs gets 2-year/$8M extension. No wonder they won't make the playoffs.” Durant quickly fired back at Palmer, saying, “means a lot coming from a dude who got fired for being a dumb***.”
6 LaMarcus Aldridge
Before recently departing for San Antonio, Aldridge was part of a Portland Trail Blazers squad that developed something of a rivalry with Durant’s Oklahoma City squad while battling in the Northwest Division. After a victory over the Blazers in February of 2014, Durant made his feelings clear, saying, “We respect this team, they respect us. But we don't like them and they don't like us. That's point-blank." Aldridge agreed with Durant’s assessment of the on-court animosity, saying, “We don't care to like them. We're not trying to make friends out there. We're trying to win games.”
5 Reggie Jackson
When Reggie Jackson was finally traded away from Oklahoma City Thunder, he reacted by saying he was “crying tears of joy.” Durant, on the other hand, said Jackson “got what he wanted,” while also noting "everybody wanted to be here except for one guy.” Russell Westbrook chimed in before the trade was ever consummated, saying the team’s chances for winning a championship did not hinge on Jackson’s presence in OKC.
After the trade, Jackson made it clear he did not like the criticism he received for being forthright about wanting more playing time or pushing for a trade away from OKC, saying, “I wasn’t always perfect, nor was the situation, but I became the brunt of the blame there. Everything bad that happened, I was the scapegoat. I’m taking all this blame, and I’m wondering: ‘How am I supposed to change it all here, make an impact, in eight minutes a game?’ Everybody is jumping down my neck, and it gets annoying when I’m supposed to have this great impact playing so little this season. All of a sudden, I’m the bad locker room guy. I’m the problem.”
4 Dwyane Wade
While the Miami Heat have been mentioned as a potential destination should Durant part with OKC when he reaches free agency, the relationship between the Heat’s franchise player and the player they have targeted has not always been on solid ground. When Durant criticized a top-10 list published by Sports Illustrated for ranking Wade ahead of James Harden, Wade responded by posting a photo of a handwritten note that read: “9-24-13: Kevin Durant said James Harden should replace me in the top 10 .... Note to self: Make him respect your place in history … -- again ..."
3 Stephen A. Smith
After reporting that Durant was contemplating leaving OKC for Los Angeles after his contract runs out, Stephen A. Smith received harsh criticism from Durant, who rebuffed Smith’s claim by saying, “I don’t talk to Stephen A Smith at all. Nobody in my family, my friends, they don’t talk to Stephen A Smith. So he’s lying.”
Of course, Smith used his platform on ESPN’s First Take to address Durant and his comments, saying that while he respects NBAers for all they mean to the community, too many of them are overly sensitive and, in what appeared to be an open threat to Durant and others, twice said, “You don’t want to make an enemy out of me.”
2 Lil B
The fact that Lil B recorded and released a song titled “F--- Kevin Durant” should be more than enough to demonstrate the animosity the rapper feels for Durant, but the feud between the two is so odd that it deserves further explanation. After Durant insulted Lil B by tweeting he couldn’t understand why the rapper was relevant, Lil B placed the “Based God” curse on Durant and the Thunder, one which has been removed and applied on multiple occasions since 2011, with Lil B also challenging Durant to a game of one-on-one over and over again.
While it seems silly to believe a rapper's curse could derail a player like Durant, Grantland's Andrew Sharp pointed out its apparent effectiveness in a 2014 column, writing, "Since Lil B tweeted #TheBasedGodsCurse, Kevin Durant has lost in the NBA Finals, seen his ownership break up a dynasty, and then watched his second-best player get hurt, ruining [the 2012-13] playoffs."
1 Fans of the 2016-17 Oklahoma City Thunder
Durant is a free agent at the end of the 2015-16 NBA season and speculation has run rampant for years that he might bolt OKC for any number of intriguing destinations. It’s no guarantee that he will leave the Thunder, but some of Durant’s statements regarding the free-agent decisions of LeBron James and LaMarcus Aldridge seem to suggest he could be open to a move.
Responding to news of Aldridge’s departure, Durant said the following:
“In those decisions, man, you've just got to respect the guy for making a decision that was right for him. I know a lot of fans were probably upset in Portland with the decision. But at this point of your life and your career, you've got to focus on you. I said this last year when Mr. James made his decision, it was pretty cool to see a guy do what he wants to do and not worry about what everybody thinks."
A fan favorite throughout his eight-year NBA career, if KD leaves the Thunder in free agency he could become as reviled in OKC as LeBron once was in Cleveland after he announced his departure for Miami. No matter how much goodwill he has built up over the years, fans of the Thunder will have a hard time forgiving Durant even if he has plenty of good reasons for leaving.