After the first wave of reactions about Kevin Durant's decision to join Kyrie in Brooklyn settled down, most of us thought of the same thing. "KD and Kyrie's relationship with New York media is going to be NBA's version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the ride." Here's when Durant realized what he got himself into.
"The second Woj dropped that tweet"
KD's announcement to join the Warriors provoked a reaction that spread like wildfire through social media. Joining a team that just broke the Bulls 72-10 record and beat your team in one of the best Conference Finals matchups in history caused countless over-the-top reactions. So if anyone had the preparation to face NY media, it's KD. Still, there's a difference between everywhere else and New York, New York. So when did Durant realize what he's up against?
“Man, I'm always scrоllin'. So I knew the second Wоj dropped that twееt that I was coming to the Nets, I knew what it was.”
Kevin Durant, Kunckleheads podcast
The silver lining in his injury was the fact he became a member of the Nets and had time to acclimate to his new location. The organization, the city, and the media. While his return to the game has been the most important highlight - the fact a seven-footer came back from an Achilles tear and is better still breaks our mind a bit.
But Durant's relationship with the media, and particularly NYC media, has been equally impressive. While we can still have some popcorn, it's not because he's been having Ethan Strauss moments in New York. Instead, KD evolved off the court as much as he did on the court and has consistently been the Nets leader, including in talking to the press.
With all the drama going on, primarily everything involving Kyrie "I don't talk to pawns" Irving, Durant's been the grown-up in the room. Brooklyn KD is open and has a sense of humor about his reputation of being a Twitter addict. A refreshing development in the NBA media landscape.
Hype around Game 5
The series against the Bucks was the most important moment in Nets history. With Harden and Kyrie out, all eyes were on Durant. With two superstars out, the Nets still had a shot at beating a great team - that tells you how spectacular Durant was in the series. Brooklyn fans had to get accustomed to that feeling, and like all New Yorkers, their enthusiasm and expectations went through the roof.
Before Game 5 of the series, everywhere you turned that was the only thing anyone in New York wanted to talk about. KD's family and friends were the ones overwhelmed.
“They was like 'I've never seen you in this position before.' I was like 'Yes you have! You gotta think.'”
Kevin Durant, Knuckleheads podcast
That's the benefit of being such a huge superstar. Most people don't have the experience that would prep them for the hype New York brings. But KD is on that very short list of players who are so dominant there's pressure and hype wherever they go. That's one of the reasons he can give us games like this one.