Old tweets: Kevin Durant uses gay slurs (including at Russell Westbrook), Damian Lillard rips LeBron James


An imgur user has dug up old tweets of NBA players, many of the messages coming before the player or Twitter made it big (hat tip: Kevin Draper of Deadspin).

Safe to say, these players tweeted differently before it became apparent so many people were following their every message.

Here are a few examples that stood out to me:

These tweets came before and early in Kevin Durant’s second season. One is directed at Russell Westbrook and the other is directed at an account that used to belong to former Michigan basketball player Anthony Wright, who played with Durant at Oak Hill Academy before Durant transferred to Montrose Christian.

If Durant used that language today, the uproar would be much larger. It’s simply wrong for people to use that f-word and gay pejoratively. Those words in this context fortify a society in which gay people are second-class citizens, i.e. beneath straight people.

Alone, Durant’s words – clearly intended for friends as playful teasing – probably won’t have much effect. But when people who look up to Durant emulate his words, the harmful effect is multiplied. There’s a reason gays commit suicide at a disproportionately high rate, and their inability to find acceptance contributes immensely.

If you recall, Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah have both been fined for using a gay slur. When announcing Kobe’s punishment, then-commissioner David Stern said in a statement (emphasis mine): “insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.” But both incidents occurred on the court, Kobe’s directed at a referee and Noah’s at a fan. The NBA, especially due to the unofficial statue of limitations, can pretty easily ignore this if it chooses – and that’s probably the league’s best course.

Durant could probably ignore it too, and it would likely go away. I’m not sure many media members want the uncomfortable assignment of questioning him about five-year-old tweets.

But I hope he addresses it. Durant – who supported Jason Collins – has matured since he was 21, and he could his platform to champion personal growth.

On a far less-important – though quite interesting – note, Damian Lillard, between his junior and senior seasons at Weber State, tweeted several times at LeBron James during the 2011 playoffs (the year the Heat lost to the Mavericks in the Finals). Lillard deleted the tweets last night, but they read:

@KingJames please get yo ass out of “too cool” mode and takeover . PLEASE nigga!!! Damn!!!

@KingJames I don’t feel bad for yo fake focused ass, I feel bad for dwade, and MYSELF cuz I wanted it more than you. #damnshame

@KingJames I may have been one of yo biggest fans. But THIS series u played like a straight pussy.

@KingJames talents to south beach? NIGGA!! You took the spotlight nd a ego. You left the talents haha. Them shits in Cleveland .

In case you’re wondering, the Cavaliers play the Trail Blazers on Tuesday. Somehow, I think Lillard is far more likely to be asked about his tweets than Durant is about his.

Wednesday night’s NBA winners, losers: Chris Bosh wants you to know he is a No. 1 option


Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while watching the Giants beat the way more fun Royals…

source:  Chris Bosh, Miami Heat. On the first play of the first real game for the Heat without LeBron James, Miami looked confused and out of sync in their offensive set, so when they needed to be bailed out of the possession right before the 24 second clock expired they threw the ball to their new max-contract player — Bosh. Who drained a corner three. All night looked like a guy who is a legit No. 1 option, scoring 26 points on 50 percent shooting (3-of-4 from three) plus pulling down 18 rebounds. If you thought he forgot how to play in the post, you should have seen him school Marcin Gortat. The Heat caught a depleted Wizards roster, they needed to take advantage, and Bosh was the guy that made sure they did.

source:  Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets. The man is earning those big checks… okay, he’s not getting the big checks from his new four-year, $48 million extension yet (next season) but come crunch time he played like a guy who earned it. The Hornets came out in the sweet teal uniforms on the sweet honeycomb court and shot poorly despite some good looks, which is why they were down 24 in the third quarter. Those misses including Walker, he shot 34.6 percent on the night. He took 26 shots to get his 26 points on the night, but when they needed him to force overtime…

And then when they need a game winner in OT… it’s all Walker again.

source:  Milwaukee Bucks. Loser seems harsh here, you can say this is a learning experience for a young team, if you want. But the Bucks were up 24 points in the third quarter and lost this game. For more than a half they looked like the fun, athletic, young team that we all hope they can become, led by Brandon Knight with 22 points (on 29 percent shooting) and 13 assists. But when the Hornets started to hit their shots and crank up their defense the Bucks struggled — in the final 23 minutes of the game (from the midway point of the third quarter) the Bucks shot 39.4 percent and had 9 turnovers. Rough.

source:  The Portland Trail Blazers. In Portland they believe this Trail Blazers team can take a step forward off the 54 wins and second round of the playoffs they reached last year. Most of the basketball world isn’t as sold. But one of the keys to winning big in the NBA is take advantage when you get team that’s shorthanded — like the Thunder right now. Portland opened the season with a quality 106-89 win. Russell Westbrook had 38 points but only 2 in the forth quarter for the Thunder. LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points, Wesley Matthews had 22 points and was 5-of-9 from three.

source:  Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers. For the second night in a row he’s put up pretty good if inefficient numbers — 31 points, on 11-of-25 shooting, he hit a couple of threes, had a few assists. Again he played as well as one should expect, and again the Lakers got crushed (119-99 to Phoenix). Why he gets on this side of the ledger is how frustrated he is just two games into the season. See for yourself.

Jeanie Buss: When Dwight Howard was with the Lakers, ‘we let him down’


We’re two summers removed from Dwight Howard’s decision to leave the Lakers in free agency, but with he and Kobe Bryant facing each other on the court for the first time since then on Tuesday, everything evidently needed to be rehashed one last time.

The Rockets cruised to victory, of course, because L.A.’s roster is in shambles following the team’s recent inability to attract star players in free agency. And not surprisingly, Bryant and Howard got into a bit of a dust-up late, where Bryant could be seen telling Howard to “try me” multiple times.

Afterward, both players downplayed the incident. But it’s clear they don’t like each other, and that undoubtedly was a primary reason for Howard choosing to play somewhere else.

But Lakers president Jeanie Buss believes that there were other factors at play, including the franchise not giving Howard its full support from day one.

From Sam Amick of USA Today:

“To me, from Day One, Dwight’s aspiration was to win a championship,” Buss said. “And when we got him, that day my phone started ringing and (fans) were like, ‘I want to buy tickets to see Steve Nash and Dwight Howard and the Lakers are going to win a championship. I want to buy tickets to one game.’ So I said, ‘You know what? If you’re going to go to one game, wait until January because my understanding is that Dwight’s back isn’t 100 percent and he might not be playing until later, so I don’t want you to come to one game and miss him.’

“So I couldn’t understand from the first day of training camp how he was practicing. But you know why? Because he was so eager to win that championship. That’s all he wanted. He came with the best of intentions. He was great with the media. He was great with all of our charity, all of our events, all of our sponsors, all of our partners. He came one day because he wanted to meet all of the employees. He just wanted to meet the employees. This was a guy who came (to the Lakers), and we let him down. That’s how I felt.”

What Buss is referring to specifically is Howard’s physical condition following back surgery the summer before coming to Los Angeles, and how the team perhaps should have been a bit more cautious and allowed Dwight some additional recovery time before pressing him into action.

But by now, we all know that it wouldn’t have mattered in terms of how the season would have unfolded, or would have affected his decision in the slightest.

The reality is that Bryant and Howard are far too different to coexist on the same team. And the way the organization supported (or didn’t support) Howard couldn’t possibly have done anything to change that.

Dwight Howard says he wants to move on from Kobe, Lakers. Actions show feud going strong.


LOS ANGELES — For a little more than three quarters, the Dwight Howard vs. Kobe Bryant storyline was shoved aside in their opening night showdown to make room for the “damn, James Harden is insanely good” storyline. Or maybe the “we knew the Lakers were bad but not THIS bad” storyline.

Then this happened.

“They just don’t like each other, simple as that,” said Lakers coach Byron Scott post-game, putting a voice to what we all saw. Howard and Kobe wouldn’t even shake hands pre-game and the animosity (and Kobe’s frustration with losing) eventually bubbled over.

Both men tried to sell the “it’s just basketball” line after the game, but you tell the way they went at each other — the way Kobe calls Howard “soft” and all the finger pointing — that there is more than just smoke to the feud talk. Neither has moved on. (Remember when people tried to sell us Howard not returning to the Lakers had nothing to do with Kobe? That was a funny. Louis CK funny.)

When asked about the incident Howard went to the “I’m just happy we won the game” card over and over. He did his best to avoid the topic, but the questions about Kobe and Howard’s exit from Los Angeles — which brought lusty boos from the Lakers faithful at Staples Center opening night — just kept on coming.

“What do you all want me to say, because I’m not fitting to give you nothing. It’s stupid. We won the game. It’s over with,” Howard eventually said. “I mean, there’s no need to go into it. We won the game. It’s about basketball. I mean it’s over with. It’s nothing. I’m not even focused on it.

“I mean people are always going to talk (about him leaving the Lakers). I had a good time in L.A. It didn’t end how everybody wanted it to. Life happens. Things happen, and I’ve moved forward from it….. I think it’s over with. I made a decision for myself.”

Kobe seemed to have a sarcastic tone in his voice when asked about Howard and the incident.

“You can’t help but like him, He’s a teddy bear. He’s a really nice kid, and I really mean that,” Kobe said. “When you compete and you have a goal in mind, I know one way to get there. He elbowed me in the face and I’m going to let him know that I don’t like that. It’s that simple.”

That was as much as anyone would say, especially on a night when the terrible Julius Randle injury cast a somber mood over both locker rooms.

Still one other thing was clear Tuesday night besides the fact the Kobe/Howard rivalry is alive:

Howard clearly made the best basketball choice for himself moving on to Houston.

A lot of us said that at the time, but it was crystal clear Tuesday. Howard and Harden make a far more formidable force than Howard could have with the aging and inefficient Kobe we saw Tuesday in Los Angeles. Make no mistake, Kobe was as good as anyone should have expected, but right now Harden is simply better. It doesn’t hurt that Howard’s back is clearly the healthiest it has been in a couple years.

Plus, with Kobe’s still largest in the NBA contract, it would have been hard for the Lakers to build much around the pair. The Rockets are struggling with that, too, but still right now they have role players like Terrence Jones and Trevor Ariza that are better fits in their system than anyone the Lakers role out. Plus the Rockets as a team buy into an up-tempo offensive system that works for them. The Lakers have another coach and are on another quest to find their identity.

None of that changes the bottom line — it’s not just smoke, there’s real fire in the Kobe Bryant/Dwight Howard feud. Their words may play it down, but their actions tell the real story.

NBA Opening Night Winners/Losers: Big nights for The Beard and The Brow


It’s a make or miss league. With that comes the simple fact every night in the NBA there are winners and there are losers.

In this new column at PBT, five nights a week we will lay out the nights winners and losers in NBA action for you — not just the teams and on the scoreboard, but in every facet of the game. No better time to start than on an interesting opening night.

source:  New Orleans Pelicans’ front line. We told you just how great Anthony Davis (third best player in the NBA?) was on opening night, but the guy next to him along the front line, Omer Asik, had a monster night, too. The pair combined for 40 points, 34 points and 14 blocked shots. They were defensive beasts and just overwhelmed the Magic (although Nikola Vucevic played well). This is not a one-off performance. These guys are why the Pelicans are a playoff threat. —KH

source:  Every Spur besides Kyle Anderson. The Spurs returned an impressive 14 players from their 2014 title team, and they received their championship rings before Tuesday’s game. Getting the rings is special, but for so many players who battled together last season to get the jewelry together, it adds another level. At least the rookie Anderson, the team’s lone newcomer, got an up-close look at the ceremony and San Antonio’s 101-100 win over the Mavericks. —DF

source:  Chandler Parsons. Parsons, whom the Mavericks gave a near-max offer sheet this summer, didn’t live up to the billing in his first game with Dallas. The small forward scored just five points on 2-of-10 shooting and had no assists in 34 minutes against San Antonio. There’s no sense drawing conclusions from one game, but if Parsons had played just a little closer to expectations, the Mavericks might have won. —DF

source:  James Harden. While all the talk leading into the opening night was about the feud between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard (and they had their little moment) the night really belonged to Harden. All game long he abused the Lakers in transition, he hit a step-back jumper over Kobe, posted up Ronnie Prince and generally did whatever he wanted to. The Lakers had no answers. Harden finished with 32 points on 17 shots (he got to the line 16 times). He looked like what he is — the best two guard in the NBA.—KH

source:  The hopes of Lakers fans everywhere. Not only did the Lakers look utterly lost on defense, not only did their offense look unimaginative and it led to too many midrange jumpers, not only did Dwight Howard and the  Rockets just own the Lakers, but then on top of it all their prized rookie draft pick Julius Randle goes down with a fractured tibia in his right leg. That likely means surgery, it certainly means missing a healthy chunk of the season. Ugh. This season is looking like a dreary slog for Lakers fans.—KH