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Kevin Durant: Feud with Russell Westbrook ‘all manufactured’

NBA All-Star Game 2017 - Practice

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 18: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.) Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors (L) and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder attend practice for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 18, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Kevin Durant has said his “feud” with Russell Westbrook is a media creation.

But what about everything that followed – the former Thunder teammates trash talking on the court, them walking by each other without acknowledging each other during All-Star weekend?

Durant on The Bill Simmons Podcast:

We spent some time together, and I understand who I left to go to and what happened and all this stuff. And then on top of that, to me, I don’t really think he got a problem. I don’t really think it’s – but if you ask a man every single day about me, I would be pissed, too.
You ask him about me every day, I would get pissed off too. So, I think that’s what added to this feud or this beef that we have, which is all manufactured.
It was awkward. Everybody see it. Everybody talked about it. The whole time, that was the topic of discussion. It was, “Who’s getting traded, and are they talking to each other?” It was corny. It’s tabloid, TMZ talk. It’s not even basketball. It’s not even what’s important in this game.
It was awkward for me because I’m like – first of all, I got pride. We both got pride. So, if I walk up to somebody and they just ignore me, I would get really upset. I would get really mad. I don’t really get mad at a lot. But that pisses me off. So I didn’t want to make it an awkward situation for him. I didn’t want to make it an awkward situation for me. It was weird.
I never even told nobody this. I wanted to ask Russell, like, “How’s your family doing, man? How do you feel?” Stuff that normal people talk about, but there’s so many cameras watching and it’s, “Oh, what’d they talk about? They didn’t look at each other. They didn’t even say hi.” It was just making me so mad.
Everybody wants to know, every news outlet wanted to know. And it was, like, you want to know about two grown men’s conversation and their relationship.

Do I think Westbrook loathes Durant with a fiery passion? No.

But does Westbrook use the feud as fuel for himself and his Thunder teammates? Yes. Does he market the feud? Yes. Does he indulge the feud, maybe for those reasons? Yes.

Whether that makes the feud real or manufactured is up for interpretation.

However, I think there are legitimate elements to it. Westbrook reportedly made himself vulnerable to Durant after last season, and Durant responded by signing with the Warriors. Durant tried to reach out, and Westbrook deleted his text.

This needn’t be the most personal and deeply felt feud. As Durant said, both players are too prideful to take the next step – especially when, for Westbrook, he has cleverly crafted his image around being Durant’s arch-nemesis.