As an objective basketball fan I completely respect Druant's silky-smooth offensive game, clutch leadership, and off-court persona.
But as an insanely biased Lakers fan I can't stand the guy.
After all, Kevin Durant will likely be the single most important player hindering the Kobe Bryant-Steve Nash-Dwight Howard-Pau Gasol Lakers from advancing beyond the western conference playoffs and into the NBA Finals.
Here is why I as a Lakers fan begrudgingly love - and begrudgingly hate - Kevin Durant
What I Love About Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is by far my favorite player in the NBA to watch when he has the ball in his hands.
Durant somehow dominates the league in scoring without seeming to dominate the ball on his own team. The fact that he has led the NBA in scoring in each of the last three seasons is impressive enough, but he did so in 2012 while shooting nearly 50% from the field.
His 3-point shooting is a thing of beauty, especially for a guy who is 6'9". Kevin Durant's 133 3-pointers in 2012 tied for third most in the NBA while shooting a solid 38.7% from downtown.
Durant is also a clutch player.
He hit the game-winning jumper in Game 1 of the Thunder's 2012 first round matchup with the Dallas Mavericks with just 1.5 seconds left. In Game 2 he hit the go-ahead free throws with less than a minute left in the game.
In the second round of last year's playoffs Durant led the Thunder over the Lakers in Game 2 by hitting the go-ahead basket with 18 seconds remaining. In Game 4 against the Lakers he hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 13 seconds left.
Off the court Kevin Durant is a solid guy who never gets in trouble. As a proud American I am grateful for what he did in leading Team USA to the 2012 Olympic gold medal.
What I "Hate" About Kevin Durant
First and foremost, I am a loyal Lakers fan.
Okay, perhaps even an insanely committed Lakers fan.
For example, I still have ill feelings toward Utah Jazz scrub Greg Foster for making the throat-slashing gesture against the Lakers in 1998. That was 14 years ago and I'm still not over it.
The reason I "hate" (though respect) Kevin Durant is because he may be the single biggest factor in preventing the Lakers from winning another title anytime soon.
Durant destroyed Los Angeles in the 2012 playoffs, averaging 26.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.6 steals in their five-game series. He also scored incredibly efficiently, shooting 52% from the field (including 39% from the 3-point line) in the process.
The Lakers have nobody who can guard Durant. Metta World Peace is too slow. Matt Barnes is gone. Kobe Bryant would expend too much energy. In summary, the Lakers are hosed.
I totally respect Kevin Durant for who he is and how he plays.
But as a Lakers fan I hate what Durant's game means for the purple and gold - a formidable road block in bringing the title back to Tinseltown for years to come.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- Kevin Durant
- Los Angeles Lakers