SAN FRANCISCO >> For a man eager to make further inroads into the tech industry, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant experienced a painful lesson on navigating social media.
After a fan pressed him why he left the Thunder for Golden State last summer, Durant responded on his official Twitter account with a critique of both the Thunder’s roster and Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan.
So when Durant and his business partner Rich Kleiman appeared at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco today, Durant did not shy away from an incident he admitted “was tough to deal with.” Though Durant did not clarify if he originally attempted to make these comments through a different account impersonating as a Durant fan, the Warriors’ star admitted he typed the words.
“I don’t regret clapping back at anybody or talking to my fans on Twitter,” Durant said. “I do regret using my former coach’s name and the former organization I played for. That was childish. That was idiotic, all those type of words. I apologize for that.”
Most athletes blame social media gaffes toward either someone hacking their account, or an intern mistakenly posting something incorrect. Durant did not resort to such tactics.
“I do have other Instagram accounts, but that’s just for my friends and family. So I wouldn’t say I was using it to clap back at anyone,” Durant said. “I use Twitter to engage with fans. I think it’s a great way to engage with basketball fans. I happened to take it a little too far. That’s what happens sometimes when I get into these basketball debates. What I really love is just to play basketball.”
Durant has faced intense criticism in the past year for his desire to play basketball for the Warriors. While some have focused on Durant joining a star-stacked team only one year removed from winning the 2015 NBA Finals, others have centered more on Durant’s relationship with former Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook. In a tweet that has since been deleted, Durant offered insight on his decision in the third person, suggesting he attempted to speak on his behalf as a fan.
“He didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan,” Durant wrote. “His roster wasn’t that good, it was just him and Russ. Imagine taking him and Russ off that team, see how bad they were. KD can’t win a championship with those cats.”
Once that tweet created a social media stir, Durant said he “was pretty upset with myself.” He then added, “I definitely want to move on and keep playing basketball.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever stop engaging with my fans,” Durant said. “I really enjoy it and I think it’s a good way to connect us all. But I’ll scale that back a little bit right now and just focus on playing basketball.”