– Whitlock, I think this whole situation, and Durant’s reaction proves he is the most fragile superstar in American sports. Do you agree?
– Fragile? The man was the MVP of the NBA finals, and had put on a hell of a performance, and won a title. Listen, I have joked, and have ribbed Kevin Duran for a year about his move to Golden State. Came up with the nickname hug life, or whatever.
This here, makes me like Kevin Durant. This entire situation. This dude is transparent. He’s owned his mistake. He’s made himself vulnerable by explaining how much it’s hurt him. You know, he’s just 28. I have more sympathy and respect for Kevin Durant. The dude is real. I respect him.
– He’s still the most fragile guy in sports. Mike–
MAN: You didn’t answer the question.
– Is Mike Trout doing that? Is Aaron Rodgers doing that? He’s the only superstar.
JASON WHITLOCK: What does Mike Trout want?
WOMAN: Well, wait, wait, wait.
– There’s about eight superstars in American sports, Bryce Harper.
– He’s been the MVP, and he’s won a champion.
COLIN COWHERD: Yeah, but it doesn’t mean he’s not fragile.
– He’s a competitor.
COLIN COWHERD: Well.
– LeBron is the most fragile player in sports, let’s be honest. And I will say, if LeBron was doing the same thing, I would knock him for it. The difference is that Durant does it, and that he fully acknowledges– yes, this was my mistake. He talks from his heart. He says he can’t eat. He can’t sleep. And I think there is something to be said about when someone criticizes you, and it’s something that you’re insecure about, it hurts a little more, and you want to be defensive.
But the exception to that is when it’s something you’ve worked so hard for, and you really believe, and people keep questioning you. Then it gets to where you want to defend yourself. And listen, he left for a better coach, better teammates, and a lifestyle. Those are things that we would all leave our jobs for, and he wants to defend himself for it.
– Well, if you leave like that, then leave it there. You don’t have to criticize where you left, is my thing. But with Kevin Durant too, the sensitivity part comes from, I think, a part of him that has an insecurity. And then when it’s brought out, he wants to defend it, defend it, defend it.
And I think what people fail to realize about professional athletes, or what we do, is that we’re human, and we– it’s hard for us– and I’m going to say us– to close our ears to what we hear. Now, depending on your background, who you are, some people handle it differently. LeBron handles it a little differently than Carmelo may.
Kevin Durant wants to prove some– Russell Westbrook just doesn’t care, and I love Russell for that. But Kevin Durant has showed us over the years that the insecurities within himself come out a lot more when somebody else criticizes.
JASON WHITLOCK: Is he fragile?
– Yes, he’s fragile. He’s fragile from the point that if you want people to really like you and embrace you, OK– so you’re trying to give– I’m going to give you a prime example, Tiger Woods. His biggest strength was he went on the course, blocked out everything.
But once he got into that situation with his wife, he tried to change his personality. He tried to have people like him more. And guess what? That’s not who he was. He wanted people to embrace him. And Kevin Durant wants people, like LeBron, to embrace what you do, but it’s not going to happen in today’s world all the time.
– I just appreciate that he’s straight forward and honest, whereas LeBron is not. He does all of the sub tweeting, and I think motivation comes from different ways for different people. And for Durant, you can see it in the shoes that he made that he wants to walk on the things that people said about him every night. That is what motivates him to be a great player.
– And the Tiger Woods example I think is great. Tiger hasn’t won anything since.
– And he’s trying to be somebody else.
– But again, he followed. Kevin Durant has not folded in any way. He won a championship. He’s nipping at the heels of LeBron to be the best player in the NBA. He’s being transparent about the– look, I read the stuff, and I was like damn, he admitted he ain’t ate in two days.
He’s crying and blah blah, and then I saw, as a 47-year-old or whatever, when I got fired from ESPN, and the undefeated taken from me, I laid in bed for an entire day crying, and whining, and complaining to everybody. And then I got up the next day, said F everybody.
– The next day.
– It’s been two days. He’s 28, I’m 48 or 47.
– But being transparent is this, here’s my thing– when he left OKC, why didn’t he say why he left? And say my teammates weren’t good enough. Don’t subtweet it. If you want to be transparent–[INTERPOSING VOICES]
– Don’t you think that he did mean to do it from a third person account?
– No, if you want to be transparent, you’re transparent after you got caught. OK, now you say it. If you’re really honest, you would have said it–
– OJ is in jail right now saying, I didn’t do it. Most people that get caught still don’t admit it. You know, everybody in jail is innocent.[LAUGHTER]
– And I’m not– and I’m not debating with Kevin Durant because again, he has a certain personality, and he deals with things a little differently. Listen, I could have had an ego or got hurt. I was on 12 different teams. I’ve been through my own stuff. The way I handle my situations are a lot different than the way Kevin Durant and other people will handle it. So I don’t criticize them, but if you’re going to be transparent, be transparent.
– We would have slammed him if right after he left he said, aw, I’m leaving because I don’t like my coach, I don’t like my teammates.
MAN: You’re slamming him now. He’s getting slammed now
WOMAN: He didn’t mean to.
– But you know what I mean? But he’s getting slammed now.
– He left Oklahoma City thinking I’m going to win, and it’s going to solve this thing that I deal with. I’m not LeBron, I can’t– and then he went to Golden State, and won, and it didn’t leave. He thought he left a problem. The problem stayed with him, which is dude, they won without you, they won with you. You’re not that valuable.
– He’s in the moment right now. Let’s see how this looks a year or two from now after his second title, and things like that. Listen, I respect Kevin Durant.
– This is the second time I’ve heard Kevin Durant saying I can’t eat, I’m in bed, I’m freaking out over like Twitter stuff.
– It happens. It happens.
– He’s [INAUDIBLE].
– Look, when Clemson won the national championship after you called them frauds, you laid in bed and told me about it. Dabo Swinney called you out, and we had to coach you up to come into work the next day.
– Uh, next story.