It looks like Stephen A. Smith’s long-running feud with Kevin Durant is now a full-blown feud with Durant’s mother Wanda as well. Wanda Durant went on First Take last week while Smith wasn’t there (he took time off following the death of his mother) and said “Who are you, Stephen A., to come at my boy like that?” and that Smith couldn’t call Durant’s move weak given that he joined a powerhouse lineup at ESPN. Smith shot back on First Take this week, but many of his criticisms didn’t hit the target:
Here are the key things he said:
With all due respect to Mrs. Durant, the wonderful, lovely Mrs. Durant, you are wrong. First of all I never once said Kevin Durant was weak, I said his move to Golden State was weak, so let’s be clear. That’s not calling him weak. As a matter of fact, I repeatedly called him a superstar, one of the top two players in the world, a great basketball ambassador, an incredible role model.
Now, because I simply said that you electing to go to the team that beat you, who happens to be 73-9 or just finished a 73-9 season, with three All-Stars, with the greatest shooting backcourt in the history of basketball, with a reigning two-time league MVP and you are the No. 2 player on the planet Earth in my eyes. If that’s being too cruel to your son, I respectfully disagree. It’s not. It happens to be factual.
She also brought up the move to ESPN and how that was weak. With all due respect, it might have been weaker for ESPN to ever let me go in the first place, ’cause I should have still been here, alright? So let’s call it what it is. I did not go to a new home, I came back to a home where I belonged all along. So let’s just call it what it is, that’s No. 2.
No. 3: ESPN never beat me! So what I’m trying to say is: Oklahoma City lost to Golden State. If ESPN was ‘the enemy’ and I was knocking at the door literally about to push the champions off of their cliff and I failed, I damn sure wouldn’t have joined them.
There’s so much wrong with this. For one, nothing Smith says there is “factual,” specifically his comments about this being “the weakest move in NBA history.” That’s opinion, not fact. Beyond that, however much he praises Durant (and he’s done more criticism of him than praise) doesn’t alleviate his criticisms. Beyond that, he seems to think Durant’s criticisms are about his second move to ESPN, but they seemed more directed at his first move to ESPN in the early 2000s. Either way, both led to him joining up with more talent, which was Durant’s point.
And “it might have been weaker for ESPN to ever let me go in the first place”? ESPN had plenty of good reasons for letting him go in 2009, particularly that he wanted more money than they offered, and they did beat him. He certainly wasn’t doing better without them, and he’s lucky that they brought him back, given <ahref=”https://awfulannouncing.com/2016/the-heckling-of-sas-and-his-rise-fall-and-rise-again-part-iv-stephen-a-s-return-and-the-heckling-societys-legacy.html”>his unpopularity with many sports fans.
In any case, Smith seems determined to continue his feud against the Durants. And Wanda Durant is continuing her own tradition of media appearances; in addition to her First Take stint on June 4, she appeared on FS1’s Undisputed June 1 and June 8. So this war might not be over yet.