SportsPulse: USA TODAY’s NBA insider Sam Amick details his conversation with Kevin Durant on how the Twitter gaffe unfolded and how he plans to make amends.
USA TODAY Sports
SAN FRANCISCO — Kevin Durant owned it.
Two days after his Twitter snafu seen ‘round the world, where the Golden State Warriors star used that third-person voice to be highly critical of his former Oklahoma City Thunder coach and teammates and had people wondering how this sort of thing could happen, the 28-year-old was a man full of remorse. There were no made up stories about being hacked, or any attempt to duck the topic as the Warriors media day on Friday fast approached.
There was just him sitting behind a curtain inside a Pier 48 warehouse – his stomach grumbling after two days of lost appetite and little sleep – explaining in candid detail how awful he feels about his social media mistake.
“I played a little too much, and that (expletive) really hurt me,” Durant, who first addressed the situation on a TechCrunch panel about athletes and branding, told USA TODAY Sports afterward. “To know that I affected Billy Donovan and the Thunder – like I love those people and I don’t never (want to hurt them).
“That was just me being a total (expletive) idiot. I own up to it. I want to move on from it. It probably hit me probably harder than what everybody (thought). Everybody else was telling me to relax, to snap out of it, but I was really, really upset with myself more than anything. It’s not the fact that people were talking about me, because I deserve that, but I’m just more upset with myself that I let myself go that far, you know what I was saying? It was a joke to me at first. I was doing it all summer, and it went too deep. I went too hard… I haven’t slept in two days, two nights. I haven’t ate. It’s crazy, because I feel so (expletive) pissed at myself and I’m mad that I brought someone into it.”
Durant wasted no time in sending an apology to Donovan, the coach who left his college post at Florida to coach the Thunder in the summer of 2015. But he knows the damage has been done, that his decision to explain his departure from Oklahoma City last summer to a random Twitter fan is the kind of thing that won’t soon be forgotten.
But his genuine tone should be noted, and his decision to lower his guard in the name of a heartfelt mea culpa remembered when the Warriors face the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Nov. 22. What’s more, there’s this silver lining: At least he was complimentary of Thunder star Russell Westbrook, his former co-star who fed the fire of their perceived feud for so much of last season.
But to truly grip how hard Durant took his mistake, and in the spirit of the tech conference where he chose to address the matter, perhaps a word cloud is in order. In the course of our eight minute discussion, he used the word ‘apologize’ eight times and ‘idiot,’ ‘stupid,’ or ‘feel bad,’ eight as well.
To hear his associates and family reflect on the situation is to understand how serious he takes it, too. In terms of stressful moments in his career, they say, there’s the 2012 Finals loss to the Miami Heat, the agony of his free agency decision last summer, and this.
“I look at my life as like a big playground streetball game, because I play in the NBA and I try to – when I think about playing in the NBA, that’s how small I try to make it, so I can control it and so I can really feel the joy of playing basketball,” he explained. “It’s just another way of me talking trash. Like I said, I took it too far, and I regret talking about Billy and the Thunder. It’s just stupid of me. I feel so bad about this (expletive), because I don’t never want to affect anybody else with what I say.”
As for the suspicions that he meant to send the tweets from some sort of secret account, he swears that’s not the case.
“No, (there’s) no different account,” he said. “I was just on there talking. It kind of looked that way – it did kind of look that way.”
And truth be told, he shared, it all became a blur once he realized what he had done.
“I was at home (in his Oakland Hills home),” Durant said. “I fell asleep watching football. I woke up, had charged my phone, and I just happened to look on Twitter. And I see (the person’s comment that sparked his response), and I just don’t remember it. I remember what I said and how I said it, but I just forget everything else. I forgot everything else. I was only focused on that convo, and that was unfortunate. I look like an idiot. My peers are going to look at me like an idiot. All the jokes – bring ‘em. I deserve it.
“The second I realized what I did, I felt like (expletive). Like I said, I look at that stuff as a joke and a big game. Sometimes when I’m in it, I take it too far and I’m in it too much, too deep. But it’s just out of sight, out of mind. I won’t fall into that problem again. I definitely have to move on and not worry about anybody on Twitter, even though it’s fun, you know what I mean?”
Enough said, in other words, with his hope now that everyone can move on.
“I’m moreso disappointed in myself, that I was acting so childish,” he said. “What I thought was a joke is serious to everybody else, and I lost sight of that and I apologize for that. But I’m going to move on. I’m going to move on, and I’m going to play basketball. You can take what you want from it, do what you want with it, but it happened. I’m going to take it on the chin and move on.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick on Twitter @Sam_Amick.
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