Kevin Durant got everything he wanted out of his move to the Golden State Warriors — his first NBA championship, recognition as the Most Valuable Player in the 2017 NBA Finals, and a new contract that afforded him the public relations boost of having sacrificed to keep his team together while still making $25 million next season. And yet, there is one thing the man who has everything he can’t secure: a reprieve from these jokes.
Former football player, noted commercial pitch enthusiast and 2017 ESPY Awards host Peyton Manning fired a shot KD’s way during his monologue on Wednesday night, by way of praising the United States women’s gymnastics team that brought home gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Our gymnastics team was so dominant that Kevin Durant told me he wants to play for them next year,” Manning said.
The crowd laughed. Durant’s mother, fabled real MVP Wanda, laughed.
Kevin did not.
“And I’ve got to tell you: I don’t think you’d start for that team, Kevin,” Manning continued, before turning his attention to another attendee at Wednesday’s event. “Russell Westbrook, what do you think?”
You’re not going to believe this, but Durant’s former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate didn’t laugh, either.
Say what you will about the goof, but to me, it just felt nice to see those two team up on something again.
It is possible, of course, that those of us who were taken aback by Durant’s reaction to Manning’s joke are being played for saps:
Big discussion in the audience here, on whether Kevin was in on the joke or not… https://t.co/TfoBy9J1cY
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 13, 2017
ESPN’s Chris Haynes tweeted the following morning that KD was in fact in on the routine:
For those interested, I'm told Kevin Durant was in on the Peyton Manning gymanistic team roast at #ESPYS2017. KD played his part well.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 13, 2017
If KD was in on it, well, he did a wonderful job of selling the bit, and we appreciate his efforts in helping get Manning’s material over. The straight man isn’t the most glamorous job in comedy, but without it, the whole thing falls apart. We salute you, Kevin, for getting your Jim Halpert on in Peyton’s time of need.
As the evening wore on, it became clear that KD was very aware of the conversation his deadpan sparked:
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) July 13, 2017
Now we just need a hesi pull-up jimbo emoji, and we’ll be all set.
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