I read a Washington Times article about NBA star (and legend) Kevin Durant taking the initiative when some people on Twitter hosted a live stream dedicated to arguing that he is not a top 5 player:

Phoenix Suns superstar Kevin Durant joined a live audio chat on Twitter titled ‘Kevin Durant is not top 5’ on Friday night in order to dispute that claim personally with NBA fans.

What is interesting is that Mr. Durant did not focus only on the fact that these people dedicated an entire Twitter stream to arguing that he is not as good at basketball as some may think. Mr. Durant criticized their entire outlook on watching and discussing basketball:

The mercurial forward criticized the fans’ entire outlook on basketball, saying ‘I just think how y’all even look at the game is whack … You factor in team success when you talking about players. I just think how y’all consume the game is trash, like are you good or not?’

Suffice it to say, I have little doubt that Mr. Durant was correct on the merits. Moreover, while I have no opinion as to whether Mr. Durant is, going into his age-35 season in 2023-24, still a top 5 player (I have not actually watched an NBA game since 2018, so my knowledge and takes are more informed when discussing events from 2003 and 2004 than 2023 and 2024), he is undeniably still a top player and probably one of the 20 most accomplished players in NBA history. While one can reasonably argue that Mr. Durant is sensitive to criticism to his own detriment and treading dangerously close to using social media to make himself miserable, I do not begrudge him for taking offense at people denigrating his accomplishments for social media clout.

I do, however, question responding to what can broadly be described as reaction porn by giving the reaction porn the ultimate reaction. Big tech social media encourages bad content, often in the form of reaction porn (see my essay). The story here is not that Mr. Durant offered a thoughtful critique of how social media personalities think about basketball, but instead that Mr. Durant reacted to a video that was critical of him. Far be it from me to offer unsolicited counsel, but Mr. Durant would do far better to establish a digital home from which he could draw visitors from bad social media hot takes to his meaningful insight on how to understand basketball and evaluate players. I suggest his own platform both because I an a proponent of social media home ownership and outsourcing one’s online presence to others can lead to unforeseen consequences.