Kevin Durant came away from Monday night’s Game 5 with quite the haul, including his first championship, the NBA Finals MVP award, vindication for defecting to the Warriors from the Thunder, and a rare emergence from second-fiddle status to LeBron James. But here’s something Durant did not win during Golden State’s five-game triumph over Cleveland: the affections of Rihanna.
The pop superstar made her presence felt in Game 1 of the Finals, distracting ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy before shouting “Brick!” during a Durant free throw attempt, which led to a stare-down from the Warriors star after he hit a three-pointer in front of her courtside seat. During that contest, she also bowed to James, then, after the Cavaliers lost, defiantly yelled, “The King is still king, b—-!”
Rihanna has a history with James, frequently posting images and messages on social media showing great support — if not something more — for the four-time NBA MVP. During last year’s playoffs, she posted a photo of herself in a bikini, with James’s jersey number 23 scrawled in lotion on her belly, then reposted it after the Cavaliers dethroned the Warriors.
For his part, Durant tried in the past to use social media to let Rihanna know he was interested. In 2012, he told a Twitter user that she would be his choice for marriage, and the following year he asked whether someone could get her to wish him a happy birthday.
Following Game 1, when asked about his interaction with Rihanna, Durant said, “I don’t even remember that,” and he played it similarly cool after Game 5, at least initially. While holding his Finals MVP trophy, he told a reporter (via USA Today) that he had “nothing to say” to her, but soon added, “Love you, girl, but I got to do it.”
Getting more animated, Durant shouted, “Gots to do it! You understand me?’’ Asked at that point whether his back-and-forth with Rihanna was “a highlight,” Durant replied, “Oh, my gosh, more than that. More than that.”
Durant may have had “love” for Rihanna, but she went out of her way Tuesday to let everyone know that she was still all about her “King,” James. She also made clear that she had a sense of humor about the whole thing.
Rihanna reposted a video that altered a scene from “The Lion King” to show Durant besting James, to her apparent horror. She added “congrats” to Durant in the caption, then passed along an image that used her bikini shot — but superimposed “Crying Jordan” over her face.
It appears that Durant will have to content himself with almost having it all, but at least he can take comfort in knowing that a former flame is still in his corner. “Bachelorette” star Rachel Lindsay, who reportedly dated Durant while the two attended the University of Texas several years ago, was at Oracle Arena on Monday to cheer him on during the Warriors’ Game 5 victory.