Kevin Durant press conference overshadows explosive night vs. Spurs

Kevin Durant press conference overshadows explosive night vs. Spurs

OAKLAND – When Kevin Durant took the floor in Wednesday night's 141-102 win, and immediately began blistering the San Antonio Spurs with his deadeye shooting, it was only a prelude for the fireworks to come.

The postgame interview session, Durant’s first public comments since Jan. 28, devolved into the purest sort of theater: That of a man unleashing his frustrations, honestly and furiously, without regard for decorum.

At the root of it all was the Knicks trading All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis last week to clear salary-cap space for at least one, and perhaps two free agents in July.

Durant becomes a free agent on July 1. New York for much of this season has been considered his possible destination.

And he clearly has had enough of the chatter.

“It’s unnecessary,” Durant said with considerable exasperation. “You’ve got a dude, Ethan Strauss (of The Athletic), who comes in here and just gives his whole opinion on stuff and makes it feels like it’s coming from me. He just walks around here, don’t talk to nobody. Just walks in here and surveys and then writes something like that. And now y’all piling on me because I don’t want to talk to y’all about that.

“I have nothing to do with the Knicks,” he continued. “I don’t know who traded Porzingis. That’s got nothing to do with me. I’m trying to play basketball.

“Y’all come in here every day, ask me about free agency, ask my teammates and my coaches, you rile up the fans about it. Let us play basketball. That’s all I’m saying. And now when I don’t want to talk to y’all it’s a problem with me. Come on, man. Grow up. Grow up. Yeah, you (Strauss). Grow up. Come on, bruh.”

This was Durant, straight up, emptying his emotional clip on local media – Strauss in particular – for generating and participating and perpetuating the speculation that upon becoming a free agent New York is at least a possibililty.

The Durant-Strauss exchange lasted for the better part of a minute, with Durant firing most of the shots. He didn’t shout. He didn’t cuss. He didn’t threaten. He was stern and controlled, yes, but it was as if nine days of silence came tumbling out, straight, uncut and volcanically.

“I come in here and go to work every day,” Durant said. “I don’t cause no problems. I play the right way – or I try to play the right way. I try to be the best player I can be, every possession. What’s the problem? What am I doing to y’all.

“Who are you?” he directed to Strauss, who pointed out that Durant had been available and accessible all season, until last week. “Why do I gotta talk to you? Tell me? Is that going to help me do my job better? Nah, bruh. I didn’t feel like talking.”

Durant is right about his routine. He works as hard as he always has. He’s productive. He’s a good teammate most of the time, which can be said of any superstar in the NBA.

He’s wrong, however, about the free agency dialogue. It’s not daily, at least not among local reporters. I haven’t asked about it once, and no one has made it a regular issue -- with good reason.

Durant said before the season, after signing a deal with the Warriors with an opt-out clause, that he wanted to keep his options open.

That topic has, by and large, been respected. It resurfaces from time to time, such as last week. Boston’s Kyrie Irving, who last summer told Celtics fans he planned to re-sign, backed off that and said he owes nobody anything. Because Durant and Irving are mutual admirers, that, along with the Porzingis deal, was enough to open the door once more.

But this was his moment to speak his mind.

“I just don’t trust none of y’all,” he said. “Every time I say something, it gets twisted up and thrown out into so many different publications. Trying to tear me down with my words. So when I don’t say nothing, it’s a problem. I just want to play ball. I just want to go to the gym and go home. That’s all. Is that a problem? All right then.”

Then Durant was asked about the game in which he made his first six shots, and scored 15 first-quarter points. He finished with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-4 from deep. He added nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals, was plus-28 over 29 minutes.

He was fantastic.

He also was too upset to discuss it.

“I’m done,” he said. “You know you don’t care about that.”

Ex-Warrior Stephen Jackson asks that Americans get real about racism

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Ex-Warrior Stephen Jackson asks that Americans get real about racism

Anyone paying a moment of attention to the latest symptom of our national crisis had to see this coming. Stephen Jackson, emotionally wounded and visibly unnerved all week, is asking for help from a group whose support is essential.

Standing before a crowd in Minneapolis on Friday, where his friend, George Floyd, died under the knee of a police officer, the former Warriors forward sent a message that needs to be heard:

“To my white brothers, I love you. Every race here, I love you. But it comes to a point now, where if you love me and you not standing on the side of me, then your love don’t mean s--t.”

Jackson was appealing to folks of all colors to stand up or sit out. Join the struggle for progress or concede you accept America as it is, in which case your love or friendship is hollow.

Wearing a black hoodie etched with white letters “RIP GEORGE FLOYD 3rd Ward, TX,” Jackson – joined by the likes of Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns and entertainer Jamie Foxx – urged folks of all races and ethnicities to ensure Floyd does not die in vain.

And that any trial should not focus on Floyd’s character – he allegedly was passing a possible $20 bill – but on those responsible for his death.

"I'm here because they're not gonna demean the character of George Floyd, my twin," Jackson told those at the rally. "A lot of times, when police do things (that) they know that's wrong, the first thing they try to do is cover it up and bring up their background -- to make it seem like the bulls--t that they did was worth it. When was murder ever worthy?

“But if it's a black man, it's approved.”

"You can't tell me,” Jackson continued, “when that man has his knee on my brother's neck -- taking his life away, with his hand in his pocket -- that that smirk on his face didn't say, ‘I'm protected.’”

Jackson, and many others with a platform, is urging sisters and brothers of another color to pick a side. Are you willing to accept such tragedies as that which resulted in the death of Floyd and so many, many, many others throughout American history? Or are you ready to stand up and join the fight against a system that routinely enables malicious actions that tear at the hearts of communities?

Floyd’s death is the third high-profile incident this year involving an African-American fatality at the guns of law enforcement or vigilantes. These actions ignited the flame that resulted in rebellious acts all over the country. Oakland. Los Angeles. Denver. New York. Chicago. Obviously, Minneapolis and its twin-city neighbor St. Paul.

It’s also raging in Louisville, which already was seething in the wake of the shooting of Breonna Taylor, who was home in bed.

In the so-called enlightened age, it’s reasonable to wonder how much of this can be tolerated.

“If they’re not giving us no answers, we gotta come up with our own answers,” Jackson said. “And we willing to do that. Understand that. We’re willing to do that. We gonna use our platform. I’m going to use everything I have to get a conviction, to get all these MFs in jail – excuse my French, I’m angry – but I’m a proud back man.”

From slavery to lynching to Jim Crow to today, with violent crimes recorded on cell phones, there is a preponderance of evidence of racism in the United States. America’s racist history, and its racist present, is by far the biggest barrier to be cleared before we can reach our national potential.

[RELATED: Curry, Kerr among sports figures outraged by Floyd's death]

Effecting real change can’t happen if the majority is silent. Non-racists merely perpetuate the status quo, which has existed for 400 years.

No, any real progress toward this country living up to its ideal, its written promise, requires cooperation across all lines. Racial. Gender. Sexuality. Ethnicity. Age. Economic. Political.

Whether it’s an impossible bridge to build is to be determined. But millions, over four centuries, have tried, some giving their lives. All have failed.

And we will continue to fail until enough people with a conscience can summon the courage to join hands and fight the only war that can improve our nation. Jackson is ready.

"I'm hurt. I'm angry,” he said. “But I ain't scared.”

Steve Kerr, Warriors make fun of Draymond Green same way once per year

Steve Kerr, Warriors make fun of Draymond Green same way once per year

In April 2011, when he was a junior at Michigan State, Draymond Green put on a helmet and pads, and participated in the Spartans' spring football game.

Of all the players Steve Kerr has coached with the Warriors, is the 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year the one guy he believes could play in the NFL?

"I would say Draymond Green -- he's got the body type, he's got the competitiveness, he's got the fight -- [but] the problem is, every year, we show one clip of Draymond playing in the spring game at Michigan State," Kerr explained to Chris Long on the "Green Light" podcast. "He jumps offsides as a tight end, and then he drops a pass.

"We show that in our film session once a year just to make fun of him. So, I don't think I can say Draymond."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

If you have never seen the video, here you are ...

“It’s never as easy as it looks,” Draymond told Hugh Bernreuter of mlive.com in June 2011. "I thought I knew what I was doing, until I got jammed at the line of scrimmage. It’s not easy. It’s like basketball. It looks easy, but it’s not.

“I like my future in basketball a little better.”

[RELATED: Steph, Klay's QB skills blew Kerr's mind: 'Absolute cannons']

Yes, the three-time NBA champion made the right decision to pursue a professional hoops career. No doubt about it.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]