Jay Williams blames media speculation for Kevin Durant leaving Warriors
Drew Shiller | NBC SPORTS
Buckle up folks.
This is about to be a bumpy ride.
On Tuesday, an excerpt from Ethan Strauss’ new book “The Victory Machine” led to quite the stir on social media. In case you missed it:
KD wasn’t impressed and accused me of trying to “rile up Steph’s fans.”
He expressed that this was a constant theme in the Bay. All of us local guys just wanted to kiss Steph’s a– at his expense. This was KD’s consistent lament. He would frequently squabble in direct-message conversations with the Warriors fans of Twitter, frequently accusing them of favoring Steph at his expense.
So naturally, ESPN’s morning show “First Take” discussed this topic Wednesday morning. And here is what Jay Williams — who has spent a lot of time with Durant and works closely with him on ESPN’s digital series “The Boardroom” — had to say:
“As much as the media speculated about whose team it was — we act like players don’t listen to what we have to say. A lot of these players are fans — they watch shows, things trickle into the locker room — it creates awkward situations between players.
Things that people say. Bob Myers — after they won a championship — when he says, ‘Stephen earned it, right?’ And you saw Kevin give a weird reaction. Or if you ask Steve Kerr who’s in control here and he’s like, “I don’t really know.’
“When people give you insight into those tidbits, those things then get blown up to a different degree that the media then speculates on. So I’ll get back to my original point about this — as far as Tim Cook can take Apple, Apple will always be Steve Jobs.
“And I think that a lot of fans saw that this will always be Stephen Curry’s team, even though Kevin Durant got back-to-back [NBA Finals] MVPs and you know that he’s the better player.
“So I think the media — the more time (that goes by) — as guys win and they win championships, the media, we’re like, ‘Well what else can we talk about? What else can we find to make this interesting? Oh, it seems like there are challenges.’
“And I think those challenges naturally throughout the course of time — that every team faces, but for teams that win at a high level — get blown out of proportion. And I think we saw that trickle into the locker room and that led ultimately to this team separating.
“That’s the realness and that’s the fact of it.”
Wait, wait, wait, wait. What?!
I don’t even know where to begin.
It certainly sounds like Williams is saying that — as a member of the media who constantly speculates — he partially is responsible for KD leaving the Warriors. Let’s remind everybody about what the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft said the morning after the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 of the 2019 Western Conference finals:
I saw something last night — and I’m not speaking for him (Durant) — but for me, it kind of bothered me. Stephen Curry was on the free throw line (late in the third quarter) and granted Steph is an incredible player, he’s MVP-caliber, two-time MVP. Take a listen to what the fans were cheering…”
The show then cut to a clip of the Oracle Arena crowd chanting “M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!”
And that bothered Williams?
“It’s like, ‘OK, could this ever really be my team?'” Williams answered. “I feel like if you’re a basketball player, you know that’s Kevin Durant’s team. But from the outside looking in, fans still see it as Stephen’s team. And I don’t care what anybody says, that has to sit with you in some kind of form or capacity.
“He’s back-to-back Finals MVP.”
That take was ridiculous then and always will be. And even if we take Williams at his word that he wasn’t speaking for the 10-time All-Star, then we at least can apply his logic and assume KD got wind of what he said and let it impact his perspective, right?
As Williams also said Wednesday morning: “So many people have agendas.”
That is correct.