In a league where most players have bad breath and don’t clip their toenails, Kevin Durant stands out as a kind, soft-spoken young man with a wonderful head on his shoulders. He’s humble and thankful for all his success, arguably the ideal superstar for a league used to brash and arrogant types like Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury.
Over the summer, the media fell deeply in love with KD as he led his country to gold medals at the World Championships in Turkey, all the while acting like a fine ambassador for the NBA to the rest of the world. So it should come as no surprise that Durant and two Thunder teammates grace the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated NBA preview issue. Except, instead of being flanked by young guns Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green, OKC’s second- and third-best players, he’s joined by lesser starters Nenad Krstic and Thabo Sefolosha.
Yes, you read that right. At Fanhouse, Chris Tomasson explains the interesting choice of cover athletes:
The magazine wanted Durant to pose for the cover of the Oct. 25 basketball preview issue, which hits newsstands Wednesday. The high-scoring forward said that was fine as long as he was joined on the cover by Sefolosha, a Swiss guard, and Krstic, a Serbian center.
“Yeah, basically I had to say it like that,” Durant said before the Thunder‘s preseason game Tuesday at Denver. [...]
“People don’t really know about them too much for some odd reason,” said Durant, who didn’t play against the Nuggets due to Thunder coach Scott Brooks giving him his first game off this preseason. “So it was good to have them in there with me … People don’t really talk about them too much, but they’re playing a role. They’re guys we have to have on this team. So I want everybody to know how much they’re important to us and what great teammates they are. So it was the chance to voice my opinion, and I’m glad Sports Illustrated put them on the cover with me.”
Gosh, Durant sure is a good teammate, wanting to give two lesser-known (and, you know, slightly less effective) teammates a shot at national glory even if it had come at his own expense. He clearly values their contributions to the team as veterans and knows that defense and toughness are part of what make the Thunder such a quality team despite their youth. Either that or he likes to learn interesting facts about Europe. Do we know if Durant wanted to major in European history or international relations before he left Texas?
Of course, while Durant wanted Sefolosha and Krstic involved, they were far from his first choice. Here are five other options that were initially struck down by SI:
- Two cancer patients whose cats have been stuck in a tree for several hours
- An elderly couple whose neighbors make too much noise
- Two homeless people he met on the way to the photoshoot
- Cole Aldrich and B.J. Mullens
- LeBron James and Kobe Bryant on a three-person bicycle
It’s that last one that really gets Durant’s goat. If he had his way, every game would end in a tie. That way everyone wins!