Kevin Durant told a cool Kobe story in advance of his final game in OKC tonight: pic.twitter.com/hEnASTdEbb
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 11, 2016
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) April 12, 2016
Durant paid The Black Mamba the ultimate respect by trying to “destroy” the living legend on the court.
KD and the Thunder did just that, handing Kobe and the hapless Los Angeles Lakers a 112-79 beatdown.
Per Bleacher Report:
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook presented a precious gift book on behalf of the Thunder to Bryant before the game—then crushed him on the court just as relentlessly as he has always schooled those two to behave. With the Thunder up by 42 points midway through the fourth quarter, Westbrook walked toward Durant with a grin—”Hey, K!”—bringing the box-score sheet out for them to share a few laughs.
“I tried to destroy him every chance I got,” Durant said, “and send him off the right way.” […] Durant offered some context, harking back to entering the NBA in 2007: “Once I got in the league, he easily became my favorite player.” The delineation about getting into the league is important, because before that, Durant said, he was merely “a fan” who didn’t understand what Bryant was about. “All you hear is the hate,” Durant said.
There were 13 first-quarter points from Bryant on Monday, but seriousness in his game has been rare this season. The Kobe attitude Durant so respects appeared for a bit of the third quarter, even if the typical results from years past didn’t follow. Fatigue had set in, and Durant kept beating him, but Bryant just kept asking for more—even ordering Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams at one point to give the ball to Durant and get out of the way for Durant to go at Bryant again. […] “Shows the type of person, player and competitor he is,” Durant said.