The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant didn’t let the media hubbub bother him Thursday night when he led his team to a 104-83 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6 of their first-round NBA playoff series. The series is now tied at three games apiece thanks in large part to Durant, who matched his playoff career high with 36 points. The tiebreaking Game 7 is Saturday.
But it was the Oklahoman newspaper that was really under pressure from the Thunder’s fans. On Thursday, it led its Sports section by expressing its disappointment with Durant.
The Oklahoman sports editor apologizes for Kevin Durant ’Mr. Unreliable’ headline saying newspaper ″failed”. pic.twitter.com/dMsUu6Ef3O— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 1, 2014
It didn’t go over well with our Fancy Stats guy, Neil Greenberg, or the Thunder’s fans.
VERY DISAPPOINTED in @TheOklahoman and their Editors shame on you to disrespect Kevin Durant & the Thunder Team.— Casey Leigh (@songbirdgypsy12) May 1, 2014
Kevin Durant is one of the greatest things to happen to this city and y’all are bashing him… @TheOklahoman y’all are really dumb.— Cole (@ColeYa13ish) May 1, 2014
Before Durant inevitably went bananas thursday night, as the aforementioned Thunder fan put it, the paper decided to take a step back from its headline, posting an apology online.
“Kevin Durant is many things. … He is not ‘unreliable’ and it was wrong and unfair for us to characterize him as such in a headline in Thursday’s editions of The Oklahoman. The headline, which appeared over a column by Berry Tramel, was not written by Tramel.
Irrespective of Durant’s play in the Memphis series, to write a headline suggesting that he had become unreliable, and to present it in giant bold type gave the wrong impression about Durant as a player, person and force in our community.
We are not proud of that headline.”
As to Durant’s reaction, he basically shrugged his shoulders. He told the Oklahoman:
“It’s all good. I don’t really care. Coming from my paper back at home, that’s what they’re supposed to write. I didn’t come through for the team. So they got to write that type of stuff. As a player and as a competitor, it’s going to be good and bad days. People are going to build you up. They’re going to break you down. They don’t allow you to stay even keel, and I think that’s what I am. My teammates love me. My family loves me. That’s all that really matters to me. It is what it is. We got another opportunity tonight.”
The Oklahoman got another chance to write a Durant-based headline in Friday’s edition. The fans aren’t complaining about this one.