No sane human being reacted to Blake Griffin's amazing dunk on Kendrick Perkins with anything less than appreciation. At the very least, it deserved at least one barely pronounceable explanation. Even Perkins acknowledged its greatness, and he was the one who got embarrassed on the play. It's just a normal human reaction.
Sadly, at least one member of the Thunder wasn't so impressed with Griffin's feat. Somewhat surprisingly, it came from Kevin Durant, a player most people acknowledge as totally friendly and in love with basketball in all its forms. From The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry on Twitter (via EOB):
KD when asked what kind of appreciation he has for Blake's dunk on Perk: "I have no appreciation for it at all."
KD: "It was a layup, I think. He threw the ball in and got fouled and made a free throw. So it's three points at the end of the day."
KD admitted he was sticking up for his teammate/team in his response. "If it wasn't against us, maybe I would have said it was a good play."
I asked KD if he was surprised his dunk over Brendan Haywood in last year's Western Conference Finals didn't get more attention.
KD: "I knew that one wasn't going to get attention because we never get attention like that...
"We're not an L.A. team or a Chicago team or a Miami team. So all our plays get thrown under the radar."
Durant is commonly seen as a boy scout, but responses like these make it clear that he has a pathological competitiveness rivaled by only a few players in the league. When it comes to basketball, he's a killer, and any love he has for the sport is related to a need to be better than everyone else at it.
In some contexts, that drive manifests itself as a little ridiculous. When the Thunder lost the Western Conference finals to the Dallas Mavericks last spring, it made sense that Durant didn't feel completely thrilled for Dirk Nowitzki. But not acknowledging the greatness of a dunk like this one? Really? Did it matter that much?
For Durant, it did, because in order to get a psychological edge in a playoff series, he needs to treat everything on the court like it's a personal issue. The same qualities that make him an admirable basketball player don't necessarily make sense in a more normal human context.
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