Kevin Durant got the ball when everyone knew he would. Atlanta ran one player at him, then another, but Durant spun right away from the defense, rose and shot. Doesn't matter if it went in or not because these days, Durant can do no wrong, and now, playing the best basketball of his career, on a streak only five have been on in the last 30 years, Durant's relationship with stardom seems to be an organic one. This isn't LeBron James reworking an image, thanks to a cellphone commercial, the constant branding of Michael Jordan or a grueling public relations work-over that transformed and re-formed Kobe Bryant. Durant is the rare case of a superstar with no visible or audible detractors. Oh, Durant has had some issues, some slip-ups on the court and off, too, but those have been quickly forgotten, forgiven or dismissed. This is Kevin Durant: Right now, as the Thunder take on Miami and James for the first time this season Wednesday night, Durant is the best basketball player in the world and he's free of all baggage. No one seems more comfortable with himself, his game and his ascension to becoming not just a great scorer on a great run, but the most-complete superstar possible. Nike tried to tell us Durant is not nice. His 12 technical fouls last season seemed to back that up. Oh, he'll stare down the opponents' bench and he'll pound his chest after a big basket, like he did Monday night against the Hawks when he made two baskets in the final 25 seconds, scored Oklahoma City's final seven points, including a runner with 1.5 seconds left that won the game, but when it comes to likable, Durant has it surrounded by not just talking "Team First," but living it. "It's tough to find people who are at the top of their profession and yet still think more about others than themselves," said Tony Romo, who was in town Monday and saw Durant's latest hero moves. "Everyone who watches, should appreciate his talent and ability, but also his approach to his craft, his teammates, his coaches and his ability to be a role model. People who see him want to do what he does." What they are seeing is the most-popular Texas-ex in entertainment this side of Matthew McConaughey, not just for what he does on the court, but how he's represented himself, Oklahoma City and his team off the court. It was others, not Durant, who made his gift of $1 million to tornado relief in May public, just like it was others who let it be known Durant was down at the YMCA just shooting hoops and playing pick-up and how he was in Stillwater, Okla., that one time because he wanted to play in a flag football game. That kind of goodwill has been immeasurable in Oklahoma City.
Kevin Durant a rare superstar who can do no wrong
Fox Sports | Jan 28