Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant had the best season in the NBA this year (we’re saying he had the best season – we’re not saying he’s the best player).
He’s won scoring titles in four of the last five seasons.
He’s been a model citizen—and a class act—for every step of his NBA career.
So did he deserve to wake up today to see this headline?
A lot of people thought the paper went to far. And, eventually, the sports editor of the paper agreed as Mike Sherman issued this apology/explanation by early afternoon:
A lot of people thought the paper went to far. And eventually the paper agreed, with sports editor Mike Sherman issuing this apology by early afternoon:
We take great pride in our headlines about big sporting events and news in Oklahoma. Thursday’s headline in The Oklahoman on Kevin Durant’s performance in the Memphis series missed the mark.
The words were overstated and unduly harsh. The headline and presentation left the impression that we were commenting on Durant’s season, career or even character. We were not. We were referring only to the Memphis series.
The fact the headline and presentation left that impression with so many readers is proof that we failed.
One of the local TV affiliates had a little fun in voicing its displeasure with the headline:
Yes, Kevin Durant is having a tough series against the defense of Tony Allen.
Yes, Kevin Durant is settling to too many jumpers instead of going to the rim.
Yes, Kevin Durant’s shooting during this series has been off (40 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free throw line, including a crucial miss in overtime on Tuesday).
But Kevin Durant is the reason why the Grizzlies reached the NBA semifinals several years ago, why the Grizzlies compete for the NBA’s record each season, and why the Grizzlies—down 3-2 going into tonight’s crucial game—still have a shot to move on in this series.
Who is Oklahoma City going to rely on, Russell Westbrook? We all know how that story ends.
If anyone is Mr. Unreliable it’s Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, who has not been able to reign in the out-of-control Westbrook. He has not ordered Durant to go down into the post, to shoot over the top of Allen and maybe earn some more trips to the free throw line.
What we want to see tonight from OKC: A more Durant. A more unselfish Durant. A more fiery Durant.
Tonight, Kevin Durant needs to be a true gunslinger. Because if he’s going to take the heat if the Grizzlies fail to advance, he might as well do so firing his full arsenal.