My buddy and fellow “Fast Break Lunch Break” podcast host, Ezra, is our office’s version of Adrian Wojnarowski. He gets all of the latest NBA news and gossip before anyone else. major networks included.
So I get a text around 6:30 a.m. this morning that reads:
“I’ve been up all night following this KD Twitter drama. Apparently he has alternative accounts that he uses to defend himself, but forgot to switch from his main account.”
He sent us a picture of the Twitter back-and-forth where Durant, “accidentally” posting as Durant, tells a fan that “he (KD) didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan. His roster wasn’t that good, it was just him and russ” then another screenshot, “Imagine taking russ off that team, see how bad they were. Kd can’t win a championship with those cats.”
What’s crazy is at that time I was up working on a blog post about how Donald Trump and Jemele Hill should BOTH keep using Twitter, because — agree with their stances or not — it’s a direct line of communication to their fans. They no longer have to rely on the media to get their message out where they could be misquoted, taken out of context, or the outlets find one sound bite out of an entire hour-long speech and play that over and over. Twitter, or any social media, seems like a step in the right direction.
But what comes with that is Trump, Jemele, any celebrity or athlete can now see what people are saying about them. They can see the angry replies. The trolling. What the arguments against them are.
And so with all of that in mind, this Kevin Durant story drops, which then begs the question: will famous people not only reach out directly to fans but also begin to communicate through fictional accounts?
Before we go too far down that discussion, here are four possibilities of what actually might have happened.
1. The Main Narrative – Kevin Durant uses multiple accounts
This is the juiciest one, so it’s picking up the most traction. And it fits the narrative against him. The argument being: He took the easy way out by joining Golden State, he’s soft, so of course he would be sitting up in his room doing this. It’s also got this kind of Manti Te’o/Catfish element to it.
But I don’t buy this one at all. I really don’t think Durant, or LeBron, or anyone else paid $25+ million a year to play a sport is spending time scrolling through their mentions, let alone creating an elaborate network of fictional characters. That’s something a struggling writer would do. I remember at age 22 I posted a link on Reddit to one of my articles, but even I, with no money at all, I didn’t get into a back and forth with myself to promote “my brand.” I just don’t think it’s worth KD’s time.
It’s like that quote, I believe from Veep, when they tell Selina Meyer that they pay people to Google her. Never hit the mentions!
Which brings us to theory two:
2. Someone on the staff messed up
Fresh off the Ted Cruz stuff from last week, this one might be the most believable. Especially out in Silicon Valley, I could see KD being pitched by a company to run his social media feed and also manage his “brand” by getting out his true thoughts through a fictional account(s).
And, trying to have KD’s back here, I don’t know if that’s necessarily really weird or pathetic. It’s kind of like an author using a novel and fictional characters to communicate their views and beliefs. Maybe this is like the modern-day version of that?
3. It was photoshopped
This is possible too. The original image was photoshopped and then everyone ran with it. Happened during the election all the time. Do we blame Russia?
4. The Bill Simmons/Jimmy Kimmel theory
Hear me out on this one, because I’m starting to believe it more and more.
Bill Simmons and Jimmy Kimmel are long-time pals. Bill Simmons is also one of the biggest supporters of Kevin Durant (KD has been a guest several times on his podcast and in the latest mailbag someone addressed Simmons as “Mrs. Durant.)
So remember a few years ago when that video went viral of the girl twerking in her dorm room, she fell over, her yoga pants caught on fire? It was all over the internet, all over the news. Then Jimmy Kimmel revealed the rest of the video, it was all a setup; a prank to show how carried away the supposedly fact-checking news becomes in the name of click bait and pageviews.
Also, throw in the ugly breakup between ESPN and Bill Simmons, I’m not ruling out a scenario a week from now where Simmons and Durant reveal on The Ringer how they set this up just to trap ESPN and all the other sports networks.
We’ll see how it all plays out. But one thing’s for sure, we’re living in some weird times for media/communication.