Golden State Warriors small forward Kevin Durant had a bit of a scuffle on Twitter yesterday, calling out his former organization, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Given his status as one of the most prominent figures in basketball, it got quite a bit of attention.
Durant is a pretty prolific Twitter user and was onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 to give a short explanation of what happened. Durant said he uses Twitter to primarily connect with his fans, but sometimes it seems it's easy to get carried away.
We're just going to put his full response here because it's better to just let him say it in his own words:
I use Twitter to engage with the fans. I think it's a great way to engage with bb fans. But I happened to take it a little too far, that's what happens sometimes when I get into these basketball debates. What I really love is to just play basketball, and I went a little too far. I don't regret clapping back at anybody or talking to my fans on Twitter. I do regret using my former coach's name, and my former organization that I played for. That was childish, that was idiotic, all those type of words. I regret doing that, and I apologized to them for doing that.
I don't think I ever stop engaging with my fans. I think they really enjoy it, and I think it's a good way to connect us all. But, I will scale back a little bit right now, just focus on playing basketball. So, I want to move on from that. It was tough to deal with yesterday, I was really upset with myself. But I definitely want to move on and keep playing basketball. But I still want to interact with my fans as well.
Durant was onstage with Rich Kleiman to talk about some of his investments and the rest of the way he interacts with the tech universe. A lot of pro athletes like Durant are looking to get into early-stage companies as they look to deploy some of their wealth. Kleiman said a lot of the challenge to ensure Durant is on board with the investments that his organization is making is ensuring that he's able to give a quick and logical pitch as to why he should care.
"None of this is possible unless he's playing basketball, we get that," Kleiman said. "If he's not on the court doing his job, none of this is possible. What I have to do with that time I'm given to talk about these deals is figure out the concept, if it's the right company to introduce him to the executive team. If I can't explain it in one sentence, the regular consumer won't understand it in one sentence."
And for good reason. Durant won the NBA championship after moving to the Bay Area to play with the Golden State Warriors, taking down the defending champions, the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. Durant stressed over and over that basketball was his first priority, but getting into the tech universe was a curiosity that he still needed to explore. With Durant, Golden State took down the Cavaliers in 5 games after blowing a 3-1 lead to Cleveland in the finals the prior year.
Durant played alongside Russell Westbrook, who exploded in 2017 and averaged a triple-double following Durant's departure, in Oklahoma City before he joined the Golden State Warriors in their (kind of inevitable) march to the championship.
Still, Durant doesn't seem quite ready for technology to take hold of the court in terms of getting AI-powered referees — which, given advances in image recognition and machine learning, doesn't seem too far out of reach.
"I get away with a lot of stuff, I'm sure they would catch a lot more than a human ref," Durant said. "I'll stick to what we have right now."