“I think a lot of fans look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players who, in their lifetime, don’t remember the Knicks being good,” Durant said in a recent appearance on Hot97.
Durant, who was rumored to have interest in signing with the Knicks this past summer, spurned fans for Brooklyn in July. Now he’s letting them hear why.
“I didn’t grow up with the Knicks,” he continued. “I’ve seen the Knicks in the Finals, but kids coming up after me didn’t see that. So that whole brand of the Knicks to them is not as cool as, let’s say, the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now.
“The cool thing right now is not the Knicks.”
You can watch the full interview here:
Durant added fuel to the fire on Twitter
With a torn Achilles, Durant is going to miss the entire season in Brooklyn this year. That’s a total bummer for the sport, but a huge win for anyone relentlessly logged on to the internet. He’s never going to stop tweeting.
Throughout the day on Tuesday, Durant said a lot after hearing it from Knicks fans on Twitter. His responses included that:
- He wants Knicks fans to curse him out in person when the teams play on Oct. 25
- He really loves that he started this Knicks vs. Nets fans online war
I love that I got knicks and nets Twitter in a frenzy, make sure y’all come to the games and bring it full circle. I don’t wanna hear no bullshit— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) October 8, 2019
- He thinks New York is still a Knicks town, but the Nets are growing and both can last in NY
- He thinks Twitter fights about the Knicks and Nets are a fun escape from real life
- He doesn’t believe Knicks fans won’t ask him for autographs on the street despite claiming to hate him
- He’s ok with people booing him if it makes them feel better
- If he has a girlfriend and logs off Twitter, fans will still be thinking of him
- He doesn’t know who the best team in the NFL is yet
- He’s going to follow up his Dave and Buster’s 31st birthday party with a Sky Zone 32nd
This is exactly the kind of ammunition fans need on both sides. Knicks fans have Durant to boo in the crosstown rivalry, and Nets fans can double down on whatever comes off the fingertips of their new star.
When both teams were deep in mediocrity, there wasn’t much to say. Now one franchise is leaps and bounds above the other, and Brooklyn is fully equipped with a voice to remind Knicks fans of it.
Ultimately, Durant has a point. Even if Knicks fans don’t want to hear it.
The line Knicks fans took to heart is Durant’s gut-punch that the Knicks, simply, aren’t cool.
From a purely hoops perspective, there’s little debate here. The Knicks have been to the playoffs all of four times since 2002, and never further than the conference Finals in that span. In 18 years, the franchise has attracted just two second-tiers stars in Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, and neither were enough to push the franchise into championship relevancy. Heck, Anthony’s reign in NYC ended with management pushing him off the team. That’s not cool!
The Nets, however, are the state’s newer, cooler franchise. Barclays Center might not have the history of Madison Square Garden, but it’s a beautiful arena in one of the country’s quickest-growing neighborhoods. Unlike the Knicks, the Nets have also taken a leap into the right side of basketball relevancy. They built through the draft, made smart trades, and are now reaping the benefits with two stars in Durant and Kyrie Irving willingly signing their way over this offseason.
For any up-and-coming star under 30, the summer of 2019 in Brooklyn was way bigger than any the Knicks have had since they’ve followed the sport. There was buzz around what the Nets are growing ever since the team traded for D’Angelo Russell in 2017, and two years later, that momentum’s launched into a fresh reality. With two of the world’s best players!
Millennials and Gen Z only know the Knicks at their least cool. If Knicks fans are upset about that, they know who to complain to.