THE TRIOLOGY: He Never Loved You
When Craggs did Durant, (my response, if you're interested) he asked us to acknowledge that no athlete is without ego. The nature of competition practically demands it, even if you're on an offensive line -- one big chain reaction where credit, and blame, ping-pong back and forth with only minimal concern for the point of origin. A point guard runs his team; leadership like that practically demands self-assurance and charisma. Durant, supreme scorer who holds the entire Thunder squad together, has more than quiet confidence going for him. When Durant says he wants to be remembered as the greatest ever, it may be more about process than entitlement. He's motivating himself through the belief that the goal is within reach.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: there's a modesty and restraint to Durant that sets him apart from other superstars. Yet there's simply no way to look on Durant mid-game and not see something vicious, even tormented, in his eyes. Sometimes, Tim Duncan gets riled in the playoffs; otherwise, he glides along the pathways to victory with a detachment often mistaken for disinterest. That in no way describes what it's like to watch Kevin Durant play. He possesses all the swagger of his peers, it's just been sublimated, or shoved deep down inside so it's even more combustible. Durant isn't a throwback to some genteel sporting past. But, it should be noted, that past never really existed the way people want it to today.
We can all safely assume that Durant doesn't stroll through the OKC mall thinking he's the baddest. In a twist that must intrigue David Stern, this NBA backwater has turned into an incubator, or haven, for players not overly interested in the glamorous life or the other distractions their job brings. Yet the intensity of his play can be unnerving, turning a smooth, thoughtful game into something downright spooky. Folks sometimes dare to call Durant the heir to Jordan's demeanor, but it make more sense triangulate him with MJ and Kobe (once he found his own voice). Kobe said he was "chasing perfection"; he never said that he had achieved it. To be the player he wanted to be, he had to always be peering over that next horizon. For Durant, those horizons are a successions of MJ-like carnage.