Sunday, April 21 2024
2024 NBA All-Star - Practice

2024 NBA All-Star – Practice

Kevin Durant’s resume seems unimpeachable: Two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP, NBA 75th Anniversary team, MVP, 10-time All-NBA, 14-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion, and the list goes on and on.

That’s never stopped Charles Barkley from going at him. Barkley was on an alternate broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game and took another shot at Durant (hat tip ESPN).

“No disrespect to Kevin. Kevin’s a follower. He’s not a leader. He’s proven that on all his stops. [Devin] Booker’s a hell of a player, also. I think he’s going to have to take the initiative and take this Suns team to the next level.”

Any sentence that starts with “no disrespect” is about to feature some disrespect.

Durant has heard this all before and, during a long-form interview on a platform he owns — The Boardroom — Rich Kleiman (his agent and manager) asked KD about Barkley’s recent comment.

“I don’t feel like I want people to call me a leader. But I also don’t want people to say I’m not one either because they don’t see what goes on behind the scenes of what I talk about or my intentions or relationships that I’ve built with my teammates and my support staff.

“I’m not as charismatic as my peers; I don’t have a personality that’s fit for TV like my peers. You’ve got to sell what you’re doing as well, and I haven’t sold it enough. I don’t feel like I need to. I don’t feel like I need people to call me a leader, but I also don’t feel like I want people to say I’m not one, either.”

Suns coach Frank Vogel also jumped in to defend Durant in a “Bickley & Marotta” interview on Arizona Sports 98.7.

“He definitely leads by example, but he also speaks up when he needs to. Not every player is going to be a rah-rah type. Every player leads in their own way. You have to lead within your personality. I learned that as a coach a long time ago, that I can’t come in and try to be Rick Pitino, as much as he inspired me to get into coaching. Our personalities are different.”

It’s possible to lead a champion by example, Tim Duncan is the model for that (he led a dynasty to five titles that way). Durant is not as stoic as Duncan, but he’s closer to that end of the scale than the Kevin Garnett end. There just needs to be a balance in the locker room — if you have Kobe Bryant up in everyone’s faces, you need Derek Fisher to play good cop and smooth over the rough edges. If Durant leads by example, then Devin Booker or someone in that locker room must be a little more vocal.

Durant may be the right leader for the Suns’ locker room, but that also may not be enough to get the franchise where it wants to go in the West.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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