Any time Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook meet, the media hypes it up as a revenge game. One superstar teammate leaves the other for the direct rival team — what’s not to love?
Durant, however, feels like the media has played a huge role in creating tension between the two. Appearing on Bill Simmons’ podcast Friday, the currently injured Warriors star opened up about his relationship with his old friend, specifically during his first game against the Thunder.
Simmons: Did you even have a moment with Westbrook that first game? Did you even acknowledge each other?
Simmons: That part’s strange to me.
Durant: Yeah, I can’t lie, it is. I mean, we spent some time together and I understand like, who I left to go to and what happened, and all this stuff. And then, on top of that, I don’t really think he got a problem. But if you ask a man every single day about me, I would be pissed too. … I think that’s what added to this feud, or this beef we have, which is all manufactured.
The Warriors-Thunder meetings aren’t the only encounters these two have had. Much was made about All-Star weekend and how the two players would have to play with one another on the Western Conference team. Durant grew frustrated over how everything was under a microscope during those events and wishes he could have interacted more with his old teammate.
“I wanted to ask Russell like, ‘How’s your family doing man, how you feel?’ Like stuff that normal people talk about,” he said. “But there’s just so many cameras watching and it’s like, ‘Oh what they talking about, they didn’t look at each other, they didn’t even say hi.'”
Durant also said he wouldn’t walk down the tunnel at the same time because if he saw Westbrook and ignored him then it would cause a scene. So instead he just kept to himself, even though he doesn’t really feel like there’s beef between them. He thinks Westbrook feels the same way.
“It was awkward. Everybody see it, everybody talked about it the whole time, that was the topic of discussion,” Durant said. “It was corny. It was tabloid TMZ talk. It’s not even basketball, it’s not even what’s important in this game.”
The Warriors don’t play the Thunder again in the regular season, but there’s a chance the two teams can meet in the playoffs. If that happens, expect the media attention on their relationship to be even stronger.
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