Just when Nets fans needed another reminder of what might have been, a new controversy related to the “Big Three” era has arisen, this time it’s about tribute videos. For the moment, it’s specifically about a tribute video for Kevin Durant when he returns to Barclays Center Wednesday, his first game back in Brooklyn.
How likely are the Nets are preparing one? Historically, they’ve done videos for superstars as well as for fan favorites like Bruce Brown and Joe Harris. In an earlier version of this story, we reported that the Nets produced one for James Harden. We were mistaken. The Nets didn’t honor Harden. (We must have been confused the Nets with all the others he’s had. He’s had a few.)
But KD doesn’t want one. He made that clear on Twitter Sunday after former NetsDaily writer Billy Reinhardt posted a poll on whether the Nets should produce a tribute video. Amid the fan reactions, Durant dropped his preference...
Please don’t, the night will be better without it— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 28, 2024
That of course led to more discussion, heated at times, on how he exited the team. NetsFrequent summarized how a lot of Nets fans feel...
He requested more trades than playoff series won during his time here. Why would we give him a tribute video .— NetsFrequent (@NetsFrequent) January 28, 2024
And got a response from KD...
Seems like me and nets frequent on the same page.— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 28, 2024
It should be noted the entire exchange took place just 45 minutes before the start of the Suns-Magic game in Orlando (which the Suns lost) with the last one only 32 minutes before game time.
On Monday, the Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin spoke with KD about the controversy. Durant told Rankin that he felt he didn’t deserve a tribute video ... and said that during his nearly four years in Brooklyn, he didn’t connect with the fans.
“What did I do to deserve that?” Durant said about a tribute video after Sunday’s loss.
“Seriously, or is it because of my name? I’m just another player, man. I don’t deserve none of this extra attention, everybody looking at me when the game starts. The game is about all the players on the court. It ain’t about me. I was there for three years, four years and we didn’t accomplish anything worth being celebrated for. That’s just how I feel.
“I don’t expect anything from anybody,” Durant said. “I just want people to come and enjoy the game and come support the game of basketball. Whatever they do in between the time, then they do it, but I can’t control that.”
Durant also said he wasn’t in Brooklyn long enough.
“I wasn’t there long enough. Me and the fans didn’t connect enough for me to feel like a part of them. That’s just my thoughts.”
KD was a Brooklyn Net for nearly four years, including the 2019-20 season when he spent the year rehabbing his torn achilles. That’s longer than his three years in Golden State.
No matter what, we doubt that the Nets would include any of the controversy surrounding his three and a half years in Brooklyn. It was rich and the end was ugly.
In June 2022, just hours before his four-year, $198 million extension was to kick in, Durant asked out, wanted a trade. Later in the summer at a meeting London, he reportedly told Joe Tsai that he wanted both Steve Nash and Sean Marks fired, unhappy with the moves on and off the court. At the end of August, after a meeting in Los Angeles, this time with all the parties present, the two sides announced they would continue their “partnership.” All seemed (mostly) cool if not stable. Then, after the Nets went on an 18-2 run, after he sprained his knee in mid-season and after the Nets and Kyrie Irving couldn’t get a deal done on his extension and he demanded his own trade, Durant felt Brooklyn was no longer a championship contender and wanted out, specifically to the Suns. That’s the nub of it.
Arguably, Kevin Wayne Durant is among the three top players in the franchise history and one of the five to 10 greatest players in the history of the sport.. Only Jason Kidd and Julius Irving are at his level in Nets history, but his reign was short and disappointing. Erving won two ABA championships for the New York Nets and Kidd took the New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals.
“I just think if we had more time, for sure, we could’ve did some special s—t, but we didn’t have no time,” Durant said without explanation. “Fans can’t connect with that.”
Of course, one week after we learn whether Durant will be honored, the Nets face the Dallas Mavericks ... and one Kyrie Irving. That will be fun!