The Brooklyn Nets faced the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, losing 134-124. Morant played a huge role in Memphis' victory, recording 37 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. After the contest, Durant was asked about the Grizzlies star getting his own Nike signature shoe and heaped praises on the reigning Most Improved Player.
"That's a dream come true, to work with the biggest company in the world, with Nike, be a signature athlete," said the former MVP. "His shoe is going to fly off the shelves. He's the most marketable guy in our league, the face of our league going forward."
Passing the mantle
Durant's statement begs the question of who is the face of the NBA now. A majority would probably answer LeBron James. He may have lost a step in terms of skill, but there is no doubt he is one of the most recognizable and beloved figures in the sport.
With James entering the twilight of his career, people around the league will likely start looking for his successor. Durant could have been a good candidate, especially considering his contribution to the Golden State Warriors dynasty. But he is only three years younger than James.
Some possible candidates include Morant and a diverse mix of stars, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, and Nikola Jokic. While Giannis, Luka, and Nikola are all tremendous players, they are like a great foreign movie with subtitles - people still don't resonate with it as much as they do with a US movie.
The answer as to why the young point guard has a case lies in Durant's argument - he is highly marketable.
Morant has become popular for his electrifying plays, which involve high-flying acts, nasty handles, terrific playmaking, and over-the-top celebrations. All of these make for a good recipe for a likable superstar.
Off the court, he has also become known for his confident personality. He sometimes even comes off as brash, particularly on social media. Even so, he seems to be loved by fans and the media alike.
Only time will tell if Durant's declaration about Morant will come true, but all the elements are there.