Ah, the summer NBA months. Everyone can relax, head to remote islands for family vacations and take their mind off the grueling 82-game slog they've just been through. Or, if you're Kevin Durant, you can continue to trash talk players on inferior teams.
The Golden State Warriors superstar joined Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum's "Pull Up with CJ McCollum" podcast, and the conversation got a bit heated when McCollum mentioned his displeasure with the Warriors' signing of DeMarcus Cousins this offseason, since he felt the Blazers had a chance to get the All-Star big man (transcription via Sporting News).
Durant: "Why are you mad about this stuff?"
McCollum: "Bro, I'm in the league. What do you mean why am I mad about this stuff? I'm in the Western Conference. I gotta play you MFers all the time anyway as it is, over and over again. We got eliminated by y'all a few times in the first round. So I'm looking at [Cousins] —
Durant: "I mean ... you know you guys aren't going to win a championship?"
McCollum: "Bro, we have the team. We have the capabilities. Anything is possible. We can win a championship, bro."
Well played, CJ. Don't let that guy bully you. Stick up for your team which, by the way, earned the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference last season. But Durant wasn't about to let McCollum forget what happened to the Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, a somewhat embarrassing sweep at the hands of Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.
McCollum: "So, what do you suggest?"
Durant: "I suggest you just keep playing, man, and don't worry about what goes on at the top of things. Relax."
McCollum: "We were right there at the top of things. We were the third seed last year, bro. We were right there. We were just slightly below one and two."
Durant: "But how'd you play?"
McCollum: "Some unfortunate situations happened in the first round."
Durant: "How'd you play?"
McCollum: "Some unfortunate circumstances."
Durant: "Like an eight seed."
The transcript looks a bit harsh, but if you actually listen to the conversation, you can hear lots of laughter and it's obvious that this is some good-natured trash talking from a guy who hasn't done anything but win a championship since he arrived in the Bay Area.
Durant has been known to get pretty comfortable on podcasts (famously inventing the "Blog Boy" moniker on "The Bill Simmons Podcast," among other rants), and we know most NBA players are extremely competitive, so this isn't much of a surprise. Durant surely knows what it's like to be on a good team that just can't get over the hump, so he's enjoying his time on top.
But what started out as some harmless trash talk went to the next level on Twitter following the podcast, when McCollum likened Durant joining the Warriors to someone switching gang affiliations.
I still think the b word is harsh and shouldn’t be used. . He know that decision was soft but I respect it. It’s like getting jumped with ur brothers by a gang you should’ve beat then joining the gang that jumped u and ur brothers 2 months later & forgetting about your bros https://t.co/BFGqQy1lwR— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) July 26, 2018
If we know anything about Durant, it's that he's not going to let any sort of social media attack slide, so he was quick to respond with some profanity.
It looks like what started as some competitive banter has turned into a full-fledged beef. We'll see if this carries over into the season.