Kevin Durant Says Stephen A. Smith Is Lying About Lakers Rumor, Smith Pens Angry Response
Rumor mongering is a tricky business. It's journalism roulette, where you wager your credibility for a chance to move up in the NBA insider hierarchy. ESPN's Chris Broussard is a cautionary tale of how a few bad leads can land you on the island of misfit talking heads, and it appears Stephen A. Smith might be joining him.
"In one breath I’m hearing that if Kevin Durant doesn’t stay in Oklahoma City, L.A. is his primary objective and landing spot as opposed to South Beach or even his home of Washington, D.C.," Smith said on "First Take" Monday. As is customary with this kind of reporting, he did not name his source. Kevin Durant did that for him on Friday.
The source was Stephen A. Smith's imagination.
“I don’t talk to Stephen A. Smith at all," Durant told reporters after Thunder practice. "Nobody in my family, my friends, they don’t talk to Stephen A Smith. So he’s lying...If you ask me a question, I’ll talk about them. But like I said before, I have people who I talk to about everything and I know for a fact they didn’t talk to him, so he’s making up stories."
Now, just to be clear, bad information isn't the same thing as falsifying information -- but it's not much better in terms of how it affects your credibility as a reliable source of free agency intell. That's a huge deal for someone like Smith, who routinely touts his close personal relationships with professional athletes to bolster his credibility as a vector for insider information. Naturally, Smith responded to Durant's comments -- where he basically called the "First Take" host a liar -- with predictable fire and brimstone.
[TwitLonger] Regarding @KDTrey5 and his negative comments about me, let me say this: At NO time did I ever say I SPOKE to K.D. Or his family. Or his brother, friends, teammates, etc. (although I can assure you all I have on several occasions in the past). I said I HEARD from folks I know -- in a league I've been covering for 19 years -- that if he were to leave OKC as a free agent, these are the cities I was told he was considering. OKC. LA. Miami. DC. NY. I stand by it all. And that is that.
His assertion that I was lying is not only FALSE, but totally uncalled for. Especially from a player who receives nothing but praise not only from me, but from practically every media member you can find. Yet, for some reason, we're all the same folks who don't know *&%$ about the game of basketball. Whose thoughts he could give a &^%$ about. Essentially, individuals he wishes he'd never have to talk to.....that he's being forced to tolerate.....as if someone has done something to him.....OF ALL PEOPLE!
Don't know what has happened to Mr. Durant over the years. But I know this much: We all win with his return, because he is an absolute superstar. The NBA is better with him. We're all at a loss without him.
It just appears that @KDTrey5 needs to learn something about today's world in professional sports:
We don't have to talk TO HIM to talk ABOUT HIM!
Folks like ME will still be here. Watching! Listening! Waiting! Reporting!
Whether he likes it or not. While he's here and long after he's gone.
Time to get use to it.
TRANSLATION: "Hey man, because I think you're really good at your job you should let me say whatever the hell I want about you regardless of how accurate it is!"
Don't think for a second Stephen A. Smith won't try and spin this mini-controversy into ratings-oh-wait-he's-already-started-nevermind...
Oh, BTW......don't think for one second I will avoid addressing this on @FirstTake on Monday morning. I can't wait!
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) October 2, 2015