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OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant thinks we're fixated on him, but it might be the other way around

Former Thunder star Kevin Durant, now with the Brooklyn Nets, thinks Oklahoma City basketball fans are fixated on him, but it might be the other way around. [Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports]
Former Thunder star Kevin Durant, now with the Brooklyn Nets, thinks Oklahoma City basketball fans are fixated on him, but it might be the other way around. [Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports]

Kevin Durant is still talking about Oklahoma City.

No surprise there.

Last week, he went on the “All The Smoke” podcast hosted by Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. The former NBA players asked Durant about all sorts of stuff. Why he signed with the Nets. Why he left the Warriors. And yes, why he initially left the Thunder for the Warriors.

Durant said many of the same things about his OKC exit that we’ve heard time and again over the past four years. He felt like he didn’t have enough talent around him. Felt like all the pressure was on him to make shots. Felt like he wanted to play with more shooters.

Yadda yadda yadda.

But then Durant was asked about his Twitter spat with Kendrick Perkins. In a nutshell, Perk said Russell Westbrook was the greatest Thunder of all time, Durant took issue with that and took a shot at Perk, and the feud was on.

Needless to say, no Christmas card exchange this year.

But here’s where it got interesting.

“In order for you to praise Russell, you don’t gotta s*** on me,” Durant said of Perk on the podcast. “Because that’s what the fans and that’s what the media in Oklahoma City kind of made their money off of the last four years is s***ing on me.”

Oh, really?

Folks in OKC made a living off crapping on Durant the past four years? We made our money that way? Our lives and our livelihoods have centered around that?

Me thinks Mr. Durant has a slightly elevated opinion of himself.

Now, granted, Oklahoma City paid a lot of attention to Durant in those months after his decision to leave for Golden State. Ditto for the times he came back to town to play the Thunder and the times he played for a title with the Warriors. People in OKC did not want to see him do well when he had a chance to beat the Thunder or hoist a trophy.

But with the exception of those two or three weeks out of the year, Oklahoma City hasn't had much reason to give a ton of thought to Durant, much less to spend time trashing him.

After all, we had other stuff to think about. Russell Westbrook. Triple doubles. A first-round playoff exit. Paul George. Another first-round playoff exit. Paul George staying. Yet another first-round playoff exit. Paul George leaving. Russell Westbrook leaving. Reposition. Replenish. Rebuild. Or not.

And that doesn’t even take into account the other sports and teams and interests we have.

Yes, Kevin Durant has become Public Enemy No. 1 in Oklahoma City. I am not denying that. But he hasn't become a daily topic of conversation or a routine part of sports coverage.

Unless he starts talking about Oklahoma City.

Think about it — with the exception of those summer days right after he left in 2016, most of the times Durant has entered our discourse in Oklahoma City have been because of something he has said. He's said things — much of it kooky or vindictive or down right wrong — about the organization. The coaches. The players. The fans. Even the trainers and equipment guys.

His words have riled emotions and ruffled feathers, and as a result, things have been said about what Durant said.

But guess what? If he would quit talking about Oklahoma City, people here would stop talking about him.

I guarantee you, if Durant hadn't said what he said on that podcast last week, I wouldn't be writing a column about him today. I'd have written about something else. Tom Brady becoming a free agent for the first time. The early returns on the Houston Rockets' move to small ball. Bob Knight returning to Indiana for the first time in 20 years.

Truth be told, Knight's return makes you believe reconciliation is possible. Hard feelings can be put aside. Old wounds can be mended.

And yet, it's increasingly difficult to see Durant coming back to Oklahoma City with the kind of mutual admiration we saw between Knight and the Hoosier faithful.

But if Durant thinks we're sitting around trashing him, I have a suggestion for KD — stop talking about OKC. You might be surprised to find out you aren't on our minds as much as we seem to be on yours.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or Like her at or follow her at

Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›