NBA fans never will appreciate Kevin Durant as much as they did Larry Bird.
Jalen Rose offered that theory Tuesday morning on ESPN’s “Get Up!” when he said the Golden State Warriors superstar might never compare favorably to the Boston Celtics legend for one reason: His controversial 2016 departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“He (Bird) and KD have a lot of the same skills,” Rose said. ” … but perception is reality. What’s going to happen with KD as his career progresses, he’s going to put up a lot of stats, but people are going to hold it against him (emotionally) that he joined the Golden State Warriors.
“So when you’re talking about greatest players of all time? Five through 10 on anybody’s list, Larry Bird will be mentioned. Kevin Durant isn’t on that list.”
Durant passed Bird on the NBA’s all-time scoring list Monday night during the Warriors’ win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Durant now sits in 33rd place with 21,806 points, just ahead of Bird, who scored 21,791 points during his 13-year career.
Passing Bird on the list made Durant “giddy like a little kid,” but assessments like Rose’s likely will remind him of the lingering effects of his free agency move to the Warriors — not that any NBA fans were ready to let him forget about it.