Colour Commentary: Takeaways from the Draymond and KD interview

Dissecting the Bleacher Report interview between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant

In mid-August, Draymond Green, the eccentric power forward for the Golden State Warriors, participated in an interview with NBA superstar and former Warriors teammate Kevin Durant, who has since taken his talents to the Brooklyn Nets. The interview has amassed over three million views and has been the subject of many debates among fans since its release. 

The fact of the matter is, people love to see athletes banter among themselves because it reveals a side of the players that’s difficult to capture in a professional setting, especially with journalists they have no real personal affiliations with. 

In the 24-minute conversation that premiered on Bleacher Report’s YouTube channel with Durant, Green was the journalist-player hybrid and, for the most part, excelled as an interviewer. 

Even the best sports journalists couldn’t do what Green was able to in this interview. He does an excellent job of breaking down Durant’s walls by keeping things conversational while clearly articulating and thinking through his questions. Even Durant couldn’t help but acknowledge how excited he was for the discussion in a clip that was inserted in the final seconds of the video. 

The interview was also successful because it involved two influential people in the league with a lot of history who are extremely intriguing to basketball fans for dissimilar reasons.

Green’s confident demeanor and outgoing personality had an enormous impact on the Golden State Warriors and their championship success on the hardwood over the last decade. Off the court, Green’s exposure with the media has led many NBA fans to believe he would also prosper in sports broadcasting when he ultimately decides to retire from playing professionally. 

Durant, on the other hand, is an enigma to the media and basketball fans alike: someone who has lived and breathed basketball since he could walk, dominated the scoring aspect of the game like no one before him, all while seemingly never letting the crowd in on what he’s thinking. 

The interview dives deep into Durant’s past and the duo’s experiences as teammates. The segment that got the most attention by far was when they shared their perspective on their infamous altercation during a regular season game in 2018 the night many fans concluded was the game Durant unofficially decided he was leaving the Warriors in free agency. 

Green and Durant hash things out and speak on how things developed behind closed doors in the interview. Most notably, they come to the consensus that the Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers were largely to blame for not letting the dust between the two settle naturally after the incident. 

So that settles the campfire debates about their viral confrontation once and for all, right? Many fans on social media think so, but the truth is that it’s not that simple. 

It’s easy to take what the athletes said as fact, especially considering they’re discussing an event that happened nearly three years ago. And maybe their side of the story has some elements of truth to it, but as viewers we are only getting one piece of the puzzle. 

As sports journalists, it’s our job to objectively cover stories in a way that minimizes ulterior bias, to do everything in our power to find all the puzzle pieces to a story and put them all together. Frankly, covering an altercation by only referring to one frame of reference could be misleading to the public.

People who were looking for the truth about the altercation need to recognize that this interview was just one flashy piece to a story that will take years to fully understand. It was a fulfilling piece to an intriguing puzzle, but it’s far from over.  


Colour Commentary: The Rocky State of the NBA in China

Remember when the NBA’s biggest storylines during the off-season involved tampering, trade requests, and Lebron’s “Taco Tuesday” trademark denial? Now, America’s most progressive sports league faces its biggest challenge since the Donald Sterling scandals of 2014.

On Oct. 4, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted an image in support of the protests taking place in Hong Kong that read, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” Morey deleted the tweet shortly after but had failed in avoiding conflict with China.

The NBA’s initial statement acknowledged the tweet as offensive to Chinese friends and fans, but ultimately created more confusion as it failed in representing a definitive stance. On Oct. 8, NBA commissioner Adam Silver cleared the air when he specified the NBA would not regulate what its employees and owners say, supporting Morey’s right to freedom of expression.

In response, China Central Television, CCTV, showed immense dissatisfaction, saying “remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech.” In addition, the company suspended all NBA broadcasting. Rights holder of the NBA in China, Tencent, blacklisted Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets. Sponsors were forced to cut ties with the team and its players to avoid potential blowback.

The NBA-China rift is an ongoing process that is showing no signs of faltering. A single tweet derailed a Chinese partnership that generated millions in yearly revenue for the NBA, unequivocally one of its largest international markets.

The bottom line is prominent figures need to provide unsolicited content frequently to appease the public interests, often resulting in posts that are imprudent.  Morey’s tweet shows the volatility a post can possess and stresses the importance of taking precaution when sharing online in a society that encourages spontaneity, with consumers who are obsessed with immediate satisfaction.

This notion was emphasized in the backlash received by coach of the Golden State Warriors, Steve Kerr, when he was asked about the topic. Kerr has been outspoken to the media on American political issues in the past but admitted he did not have enough knowledge to formulate an opinion on Chinese politics.

Kerr was criticized by fans and was called out by President Donald Trump in a hearing on Oct 9, who labelled Kerr a hypocrite that “was like a scared little boy”. The Warriors’ coach effectively showed self-awareness in wanting to think before he speaks, which is unfortunately an ostracized attitude in 2019.

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