The Untold Truth Of Kevin Durant

For a decade and a half, Kevin Durant has been one of the best basketball players in the National Basketball Association. Coming into the league as a teenager, Durant's skills and athleticism have been completely unprecedented for someone his size. According to, Durant is listed at 6'10", though in an interview with Bob Fitzgerald of KNBR in 2016, he admitted to being around 7 feet tall in basketball shoes. Either way, players who are as tall as "The Slim Reaper" have traditionally played slower games closer to the basket, as they tend not to be athletic enough to keep pace with smaller, quicker players.

Durant is a basketball unicorn, never seen before in the sport's history. He is usually both the tallest player and the best athlete anytime he steps on the hardwood. He can handle and shoot like any guard and can grab as many rebounds as the tallest centers in the game. With this deadly combination, Durant has become one of the greatest players in NBA history, and he still has many years left to play and continue to build his impressive résumé!

Before his inevitable enshrinement into the Basketball Hall of Fame, let us take a look at the life and career of one of the greatest and most unique athletes in the world. Here is the untold truth of Kevin Durant.

He Wore #35 to honor his murdered coach

In an ESPN special, Durant discussed his relationship with his old AAU coach, Charles "Chucky" Craig. When Durant was eight, he met Coach Craig in St. Pleasant, Maryland. The future NBA star said he did not have much confidence in his skills and potential, but Craig helped Durant by giving him the reinsurance he needed to boost his self-esteem.

"He told me every time I stepped on the floor that 'You're the best player on the floor,' and he told me, 'Go out there and play like a superstar,'" Durant said. Kevin's mother, Wanda Durant, said this about their relationship: "He was close with all the kids, but it seemed to me that he and Kevin were a little closer. He and Kevin had the same spirit."

As a junior at Oak Hill Academy, Durant was already one of the best prospects in the nation, on his way to a pro basketball career, when he received devastating news: Charles Craig had been murdered while breaking up a street fight. He was 35 years old. So, during his lone year as a Texas Longhorn and in his NBA career with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors, Durant wore No. 35 to honor his coach.

According to Sports Manor, when Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets and switched to No. 7, his reasoning was that he had done everything he had wanted to do with No. 35 and had made his fallen coach proud.

The 2007 NBA Draft: Kevin Durant vs. Greg Oden

In the 1984 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers used the No. 2 pick to draft a talented, big man from Kentucky named Sam Bowie. Unfortunately, Bowie's basketball career was hampered by injuries, and he never reached his full potential. This would be considered bad luck for most teams, but the Chicago Bulls, who held the next pick, drafted a guard from North Carolina named Michael Jordan. So, really bad luck, to say the least. Well, this can't happen twice for Portland, right?

Going into the 2007 NBA Draft, the top pick was either going to be Kevin Durant or Ohio State center Greg Oden. ESPN ran "versus" articles debating which would be the better player. In their pre-draft workouts with the Blazers, Oden outperformed Durant in exercises and basketball drills, as Bleacher Report details. For that reason, as well as their need for a center and the lack of quality centers in the NBA, the Trail Blazers drafted Greg Oden first overall, and the Seattle Supersonics drafted Durant second. Like Bowie, Oden would have an injury-plagued career and would be forced to retire before turning 27 years old. Durant, like Jordan, would become an all-time great player in the sport.

In Portland's defense, as detailed by The Basketball Network, the team already had Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, both talented scorers. Durant wasn't as needed for the roster as Oden was. Still, with the benefit of hindsight, Portland fans would probably take Durant over all three players.

Kevin Durant's hidden tattoos

Tattoos and NBA players have been as close as, well, tattoos are on people's skin. Since the late 1990s, with high-profile players like Dennis Rodman and Allen Iverson rocking visible tattoos, NBA players have more freely sported entire sleeves of ink on their arms and legs. Kevin Durant has been unique in this regard, as his tattoos have been hidden for most of his career.

In his basketball jersey and protective sleeves, one could assume that Durant's body was largely tattoo-free. However, when shirtless and without his sleeves on his legs and arms, his body is covered in ink. According to Body Art Guru, Durant has 15 tattoos, most of which are located on his chest and back. Most of the tattoos reflect his Christian beliefs, such as Bible verses and a portrait of Jesus, or are about his family. 

Durant has portraits of rapper Tupac Shakur and funk legend Rick James on his left calf and thigh, respectively. Of his Shakur and James tattoos, Durant has said, "Tupac was known for being woke, being politically incorrect, having a voice, and standing up for himself, standing up for what he believes is right. ... Rick James personified freedom. He personified just being you, loving and caring for what you like, what you believe in."

On his other leg, Durant sports a lion. The only tattoo that is not usually covered by attire is on his right wrist, where he has a stylized letter "R."

No more Mr. Nice Guy

Early in his career, Kevin Durant held a reputation for being a nice, quiet player. However, after joining the Golden State Warriors, his public personality shifted, becoming more confrontational, though this was less towards his teammates and more towards everyone else!

During the first nine years of his career with the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder (Seattle moved to Oklahoma a year after drafting Durant), his reputation for being one of the nicest players in the league stuck to him. Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, following a rare confrontation with Durant, called him a "fake tough guy," Bleacher Report noted. Still, this "nice guy" persona led to a Nike promotion ad stating, "KD is not nice," as reported by The Oklahoman.

However, not everyone believed the ad, and despite the escalation of on-court confrontations with opponents and his move to Golden State, according to Warriors Wire, NBA legend Charles Barkley had this to say to Durant following an on-court argument between Durant and teammate Draymond Green: "Kevin Durant is just a really nice guy trying to be a bad guy. ... He spends all his time trying to prove to people how tough and bad he is. He's so worried about what other people say."

By his final days with the Warriors, Durant's feud with other players and especially the media reached its apex as they continued to ask the superstar whether he was staying or leaving the team, The Undefeated reports.

Kevin Durant's friendship and rivalry with LeBron James

It's difficult to finish in second place or to be seen as No. 2 in the public eye. Kevin Durant was the second pick in the draft, and despite his superior talents, more vocal and aggressive teammates like Russell Westbrook and Draymond Green were seen as leaders more so than he was. On top of that, Durant, successful or not, has had to play in the shadow of potentially the greatest player in the history of basketball, LeBron James.

According to ClutchPoints, coming into the 2020-21 NBA season, LeBron had won 20 of their 35 games against each other. However, Durant holds the edge in the postseason, winning two out of the three series against James. All three series were in the NBA Finals for the championship. James' first championship came against Durant's Thunder in 2012. Five years later, Durant, now a Warrior, won his first championship, defeating LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers.

Off the court, though, the two are actually very close. In 2018, they took part in a program discussing social justice with journalist and broadcaster Cari Champion. They were teammates in the 2012 Olympics, where they led the U.S. to a gold medal in the London Games, and according to Stephen A. Smith, James reached out to Durant about joining the LA Lakers in 2018, as told by Bleacher Report. James also had a great impact on Durant's career in a decision that had absolutely nothing to do with him.

The Decision II

When LeBron James announced on national television that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat with stars Chris Bosh and Dwanye Wade, he, unintentionally, began a new era in the league. Now, star players would communicate with each other, coordinate their contracts, and join forces on a single team. On July 4, 2016, Kevin Durant took James' foundation and built an empire.

In the 2016 Western Conference Finals, Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder blew a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven to the Golden State Warriors. Durant, meanwhile, had reached the end of his contract and decided to sign with the Warriors. While the team's talent was never in doubt, Durant's decision was meant with harsh reactions. Fans and commentators questioned his competitiveness for joining the Warriors. Golden State had won the 2015 NBA Finals and was coming off the greatest regular season the next year, winning a record 73 games. The team also featured the league's back-to-back MVP, Stephen Curry.

Durant would spend three years with Golden State, winning two straight NBA Finals. According to CBS Sports, Durant defended his titles with the Warriors: "I played at an elite level in the Finals in all the biggest moments. And I could understand if I didn't play well at all. But I played the best that I could play in both Finals for that team." Still, the decision remained a black mark on the superstar, as many fans claim Durant took "an easy pass" to win championships.

Kevin Durant's feuds with former and current teammates

Understandably, when Kevin Durant leaves teams he's had success with believing he can find greater success with another team, it leaves a few scars for his former teammates. With the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors, Durant has gotten into high-profile arguments with his former teammates.

A year after being drafted into the league, Durant was paired with another top pick, Russell Westbrook. The two became the best players on the team and close friends. As told by Elle Duncan of ESPN, following his departure, the pair's relationship went south. Chances of repair seem doubtful, as Durant has vocally criticized the Thunder for their failure to build a strong team around him. These comments and others criticizing Oklahoma City have also hurt his relationship with other Thunder teammates.

However, his most explosive argument came on the court as a Warrior. In the final moments of a tied game, Durant demanded the ball from his teammate, Draymond Green, who fumbled the possession as time expired. The pair got into a verbal altercation on the Warriors bench and had to be separated. According to The Mercury News, Green said he wanted Durant to run the floor instead of simply demanding the ball, and the play broke down. Following the early-season game, Durant's relationship with Green and the rest of the Warriors became the headline for the remainder of the season, which would happen be his final in Golden State.

Kevin Durant uses burner Twitter accounts

Sometimes, we forget that the people we watch on television are just as human as we are. They bleed, cry, laugh, get angry — the whole nine yards. And they can also be as petty as we are at times. For Kevin Durant, since joining the Golden State Warriors, and eventually the Brooklyn Nets, he has had to deal with his fair share of critics. He has dealt with his detractors and "haters" with a unique approach, to say the least.

According to Bleacher Report, in 2017, a random Twitter user tweeted at the superstar about why he'd left Oklahoma City. Durant, speaking in the third person, responded, "he didn't like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan. His roster wasn't that good, it was just him and russ. imagine taking Russ off that team, see how bad they were. Kd can't win a championship with those cats."

The fallout was swift and loud, as Durant seemed to have mistakenly not replied from a secret account but his own verified account! While it's impossible to verify without corroboration or evidence, the social media world still made fun of the superstar for being "thin-skinned." According to Sportscasting, Durant confirmed in 2020 not only that he had burner accounts to defend himself but that he still uses them, though he said it is to interact with fans and communities discretely. So be careful if you want to tweet criticisms at Durant — he might see them!

'You're the real MVP'

Along with LeBron James and Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant is the best player of this generation in the NBA. However, while LeBron holds four MVP awards in his trophy case and Curry two, Durant only holds a single MVP award. However, unlike the other two, Durant's speech upon winning the award is remembered as much as, if not more than, any shot or dunk he has done.

Fighting through tears, Durant thanked his teammates, coaches, fans, and the Thunder organization. However, he left his greatest compliment to his mother, Wanda Durant. Fighting through tears herself, Wanda listened to her son thank her for raising him and his brother as a struggling single mom, keeping the two out of danger and pushing him to become a basketball player. He concluded the tribute with the now-iconic line to his mother, "You're the real MVP," to a round of applause from the entire room.

The speech and phrase were picked up by news outlets and social media, and Wanda Durant became a celebrity. While she had always been around her son, watching him play from the sidelines, her spotlight brightened following the speech. In 2016, Wanda's life became the focus of a Lifetime Movie. The next year, she celebrated with Kevin as he won his first championship, interrupting his postgame interview with Doris Burke to congratulate her son.

Battling injuries

The career of an NBA player is always littered with injuries. Who knows what Portland would look like if Greg Oden (and eventually Brandon Roy) hadn't succumbed to the injury bug. Unfortunately for Kevin Durant, he has suffered enough injuries in the NBA for two Hall of Fame careers.

Durant's long list of injuries has been detailed by ClutchPoints. Following his MVP season of 2013-14, Durant was limited to only 27 games because of a Jones fracture in his right foot that required three surgeries in a span of six months. He would not be seriously injured again until he got to Golden State.

In his first season with the Warriors, Durant suffered a sprained MCL after his teammate, Zaza Pachulia, fell into his leg. He missed 19 games, as well as two games in the postseason, but was still able to lead Golden State to the championship. Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come. After a second championship the next year, Durant suffered a calf injury in the 2019 postseason. After missing nine games, he attempted to play Game 5 of the NBA Finals as his Warriors were down 3-1 in the series. The rush led to Durant tearing his Achilles tendon, causing him to miss the rest of the series and the entire 2019-2020 season, now as a member of the Brooklyn Nets.

In his second season with the Nets, Durant played only 35 out of 72 games because of multiple ailments, according to

Kevin Durant is the Snoop Dogg of the NBA

According to NBC Sports, the league decided in December 2020 that while marijuana would stay a banned substance, they would not test players for it. One can imagine that Kevin Durant heard the news and immediately took a jet straight into Snoop Dogg's garden, as Durant has become one of the league's most well-known potheads off the court.

In fact, Snoop and Durant have collaborated for the plant they love. The New York Daily News reports that in 2019, the two backed a marijuana startup called "Dutchie." Durant also began to work with a venture capital firm that specializes in the plant and advocated for the NBA to remove marijuana from its banned substance list.

In an interview with "The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz," writer and journalist Matt Sullivan said this about Durant: "He smokes even more weed than you would think. I was at his house at one o'clock in the morning. The entire place just reeks. He doesn't have a girlfriend. He doesn't go on crazy vacations. He doesn't do anything other than hoop. Like nothing. He's boring as hell. So going out to him is just blazing" (via Sportscasting).

However, Durant will have to give up his habit for a period as he participates in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Whether the NBA will start testing for marijuana again will be determined in the near future.