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Surprise Tribute Mishap: Kevin Durant’s Epic Reaction to Unexpected Farewell Video in Brooklyn!

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Kevin Durant didn’t want a Nets tribute video, but he was ‘classy’ in responding to the one he got.

Kevin Durant‘s return to Brooklyn went as you would have expected, at least on the court. The Phoenix Suns superstar turned in a patented performance against his former team, posting 33 points, five rebounds, and eight assists on 10-of-16 shooting during a 136-120 victory.

While the game played out predictably, the Nets’ handling of their former star’s return may come as a surprise. Despite Durant saying multiple times that he didn’t want a tribute video, Brooklyn gave him one before tipoff. He was met with applause during pregame introductions but booed once the game was underway.

Durant reacted postgame to Brooklyn giving him the tribute video against his wishes.

“It is what it is,” he said. “Like I said, I can’t control what other people feel and think and do. That wasn’t gonna stop me from just doing my job regardless of how I was honored. But there’s classy people here. They appreciate everybody who donned a jersey; I don’t care if it was for a 10-day. And that shows a great organization when you can appreciate everybody who stepped foot in here and put their blood, sweat, and tears into your organization. So I respect that.”

Durant’s time with the Nets was marred by off-court drama and underwhelming on-court results. The team’s big three of Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden looked unstoppable while dismantling the Celtics during the first round of the 2021 playoffs.

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However, Harden and Irving suffered injuries early in the second round, and Brooklyn fell in seven games to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Irving’s refusal to comply with New York’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate derailed the following season, during which Harden forced his way to Philadelphia at the trade deadline. The big three playing a total of 16 games together. Brooklyn went on to be swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics and Durant and Irving were dealt at the 2023 deadline after a series of trade requests.

Despite the Big Three’s incredible promise during their short time together, Durant said he doesn’t reminisce about what could have been.

“No. That’s just a pointless exercise, in my opinion,” he said. “What happened? That’s what I thought about. What actually happened, the reality of it. We didn’t have enough time together. That’s just it. Guys had to go their separate ways. We tried our hardest to salvage everything and bring everything together… At the end of the day, I enjoyed coming to work, being a part of this community, and playing and representing Brooklyn. Regardless of what went on or was said or how I felt, I still came to work.”

While the exit left a sour taste in Nets fans’ mouths, head coach Jacque Vaughn, who took over after Brooklyn fired Steve Nash seven games into 2022-23, offered praise for Durant’s work ethic.

“I’ll never forget my experience with Kevin,” Vaughn said. “For me, in the world of negativity, it was a positive experience. K made me a better coach. And there’s one thing that I never, ever doubted: when I was a part of a staff or coaching him as a head coach, going into a game, he wanted to win that game. That competitiveness and that ability to show up every night is special. He is a special human being.

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“Nothing but good and fond memories for me. I’m glad I had a chance to coach him. He’s an unbelievable player and one of the best ever to suit up.”

Durant is unquestionably the best player ever to wear a Nets uniform. The 14-time All-Star averaged 29.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists on 53.5 percent shooting over 129 appearances with the team. However, his tenure will go down in history as a resounding failure.

Despite that reality, Durant chose to focus on his growth as a player when reflecting on his time in Brooklyn.

“I like to look at success as the individual, what you do as an individual, and then as a team,” he said. “As an individual, I was [an] All-Star every year. I was the leading vote-getter every year in the All-Star Game. I sold a lot of jerseys. [I was] 50-40-90. I averaged 30 [points per game]. [I made] All-NBA. Was that successful? But team success is a different thing. How the team does, you like to put that on one of the best players and call it a failure.

“But if you look at the work. If you want to talk about me individually, you just look at the work I put in here. I think I’ve grown as a player. I think I’m on my way to mastering the game. Coming here helped push me closer to that. That’s what I try to take from my time here.”


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