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Durant opens up but with a flawed message


We all concede that there is much to admire about Kevin Durant, right?

Gifted basketball player without question, he seems a thoughtful young man, the MVP acceptance speech from a couple of years ago set the bar at a nearly impossible standard to reach.

He went off yesterday on “the media” for its treatment of Kobe Bryant and it was a bit tiring and cliché and, to me, off base.

Now, I am all for athletes expressing themselves honestly, it makes them more normal or something I wish more players in all sports spoke more openly more often, it makes my life and job a bit easier and I imagine it makes the players in question more appreciated by fans.

The most troubling part of Durant’s diatribe is the “you guys” preface he used that lumps all the media together and that’s not only wrong but it’s a bit insulting.

Sure, there have been people hammering Kobe at every turn and some of it excessive and mean-spirited and it does take the public perception of us down a notch.

However, for all of those screamers, there are also those who use nuance, context and subtlety to get across a point, it’s not constant in-print yelling and admonishing, it’s quietly yet efficiently making readers understand what’s going on.

I think a lot of it comes from the perception of some athletes that “the media” is all-encompassing, they hear the TV and radio ranters and lump them together with the writers and even the many good people in the broadcast industry who are fair and balanced without losing their minds.

That’s where the distinction lies, I believe.

We are all not “the media” by any stretch of the imagination and when an athlete of Durant’s power and stature makes blanket statements, it can lead others to believe the same flawed premise.

Now, you cannot argue that Bryant is having an historically wretched season, he’s on pace to put up some of the all-time ghastly numbers if it continues, a fact even Durant conceded.

And, yes, it is our responsibility to point that out in the context of the moment and every story cannot possibly include homage to Bryant’s career when that tome is dealing with the events of the day in the immediate ways of today’s media.

But Durant was, in my opinion, off-base with his generalization and that’s the point I have issue with.

I appreciate that he spoke at length on the issue and, as I say, I wish more athletes did it more often but sometimes it’s a bit mis-directed.

I understand it was 33 years ago yesterday that a seminal album of the era was released.

And who didn’t own Thriler?

Okay, I see that it’s Dec. 1 so stores can start hyping Christmas stuff and you can start hauling the decorations out of storage if you like.

That’s the rule, right? Or at least the way it should be, correct?

This is a bit of shameless promotion but it’s also a legitimate point.

The Star Touch app really is something innovative in the way news is delivered because it’s a bit interactive, it’s got bells and whistles that can only be dispensed electronically and it’s still got news, all the news we do so well.

It’s available for Androids now if you’d like, still free and still there basically when you wake up.

I was a wee bit worried when it first came up about the difference it would make in my life, whether the “extras” would be either time-consuming or would take away what we’ve done for years here.

It’s a tiny bit more work and when we’re developing story ideas we take video and art more into consideration but it’s all worth it and you should check it out.

Headed to Atlanta later on today and I don’t care what you’ve got for me because it’s Atlanta and it’ll be a night on a stool finishing some overdue work.

We all understand who are North American sports icons are, the men and women who have changed games, made an impact on lives somehow, athletes who are memorable and when they pass away, we mourn.

It’s not that we get used to it and there is a sense of collective sadness that lasts a few days, isn’t there?

Well, for all that we do to honour those greats, it’s also repeated around the world, often missed in our insular sports existence.

And this week in New Zealand was really something that no well-rounded sports fan should have missed.

I don’t know how I first came to hear of Jonah Lomu, the legendary All Blacks rugby star, I presume it would have been either through stories I read or the odd occasion that rugby made it to television that was available to me but whatever interest I have in the sport had its genesis with Lomu and the All Blacks.

He was one of those global sports giants that transcended any geographical interest in sports and I don’t know of too many others. There must be a cricketer that I can’t think of at the moment, there are more than a handful of soccer players whose brilliance drew fans into the sport if only for a little bit

Lomu was that for rugby and me.

And maybe that’s why I found the memorial service for him, a giant who died far too young at just 40 years old, so fascinating.

There’s a video in this Guardian tribute that you should watch for the pageantry and solemnity alone.

Plus, the Haka is one of the world’s great traditions and the one done at the Lomu service is the greatest I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen Sean Marks do it alongside Pero Cameron at Tall Blacks basketball games.

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