KD: Kevin Durant’s Relentless Pursuit to Be the Greatest
by Marcus Thompson
Published by Atria Books on May 14, 2019
NBA // Non-Fiction // Kevin Durant
In the Acknowledgments Marcus Thompson wrote: “Writing a book about someone’s life has a way of forcing you to reflect on your own.”
As for Marcus Thompson he’s a lead columnist at The Athletic, covering the Golden State Warriors, San Francisco 49ers and Giants, and the Oakland Raiders and A’s.
KD is his second Warriors bio Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry came out in 2017. His writing at The Athletic is highly recommended. Sound cultural analysis that’ll deepen your relationship with basketball.
As for KD well that’s complicated isn’t it? Marcus’s Kevin Durant biography opens with a nimble comparison between KD and Tupac Shakur: the intelligence, the volatility…the sensitivity… and of course the glorious contradictions.
Kevin Durant’s contradictions not only hint at a complex personality he represents our age. We’ll howl at the demise of political rhetoric on Facebook but praise Facebook’s ability to connect us with friends and family. We’re constantly surrounded by contradictions without any clear way to properly resolve them so often we choose to tolerate them.
Like when KD left the Thunder to sign with the Warriors. Anger and frustration sure yet it once again confirms a simple truth. Nobody is simple; the complexity of their personality renders facile narratives impotent. If somebody doesn’t make sense it’s your narrative that’s wrong; you issued the wrong verdict. (We’ve seen this all the time with Kanye West. He’s fine and doing incredible work…your hot take is just lukewarm at best.)
On page 119: KD addressed the media to say: “To be honest man, I’m only here talkin to y’all because I have to. So I really don’t care. Y’all not my friends. You’re going to write what you want to write. You’re going to love us one day and hate us the next. That’s a part of it. So I just learn how to deal with all y’all.”
The Kevin Durant in Marcus’ book is unsettled, restless.
In The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty by Ethan Sherwood Strauss wrote on page 117: “Marcus Thompson, who wrote KD: Kevin Durant’s Relentless Pursuit to Be the Greatest, said of Durant, in an interview with Colin Cowherd, “He’s a kid who grew up in a really rough situation. He never really had the foundation. His life was so unsettled, so I think he’s still finding that. He’s still looking for that.” Sometimes searchers are pioneering explorers, but oftentimes, they’re mostly looking for something they’ve always lacked.”
How do you resolve all these messy KD contradictions? You start by reading this well-written book by Marcus Thompson. And appreciate Durant for his game. While he’s complicated; his NBA game is beautiful and we should treasure it for as long as we have it.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.
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