OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – MAY 28: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on during a press conference after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-101 in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

Some athletes will claim that they don’t pay attention to what the media writes or says about them. Kevin Durant is not one of those athletes. He is definitely aware of what pundits are saying about him on television, what columnists are writing or tweeting. That might apply especially to Skip Bayless.

The former ESPN First Take commentator, soon to debut on Fox Sports 1, has irritated Durant so much with his criticisms that the NBA star once asked the media to give him an opportunity to squawk back at Bayless in postgame interviews. ESPN’s Royce Young shared the story on Twitter.

We’re not certain what Bayless tweeted that so incensed Durant. The choices could very well be many. One guess is that this is the statement which ticked Durant off.

As we know, the Oklahoma City Thunder were on the verge of eliminating the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, taking a 3-1 series lead before the defending NBA champs rallied for three consecutive victories to win the series in seven games.

Our own Andrew Bucholtz reached out to Young via Twitter to ask after which playoff game this occurred, and whether or not Durant was given the question that he wanted that reporter to ask.

Durant does seem acutely aware of how he’s perceived in the media — and likely by fans, as well — and the possibility of major backlash upon him leaving the Thunder for the Warriors via free agency was apparently a significant factor in his decision.

USA Today‘s Sam Amick shared this anecdote in a story about how the Warriors successfully pursued Durant.

“First hour: Management and coaching staff took center stage, with Durant quietly listening for most of the time while general manager Bob Myers, coach Steve Kerr and Lacob painted a picture of what Durant could expect and how they’d try to take over the NBA in years to come. The Warriors were struck by one thing early: Durant, quite clearly, was concerned with the PR hit he would likely take by leaving the Thunder behind to join the team that had beaten him in the Western Conference Finals. He didn’t want to be seen as a villain, and wanted to know how they saw that sensitive part of this whole picture.”

Hopefully, Durant’s friends, associates and family have told him to avoid the internet over the past few days, which has been overflowing with barking about him signing with the Warriors. Criticism from former NBA stars-turned-analysts like Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller accuse Durant of taking an easy route to a championship could be particularly stinging, even if they’re short-sighted. NBA players are different now. They don’t view teaming up with fellow stars on a super-team the same way that players of past NBA eras may have.

One person who didn’t quite join the pile on Durant, at least not yet, is Bayless. This is what he tweeted after Durant’s decision to sign with Golden State was announced.

OK, Skip still couldn’t quite help himself.

Maybe Bayless is saving his venom for Durant’s decision to join Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in Oakland for when his new FS1 show debuts. But it’s probably safe to say the newest Warriors star won’t be appearing on the show for an interview.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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