Playing in his first meaningful game since the 2019 NBA Finals, Kevin Durant scored 22 points in Brooklyn’s 125-99 season-opening win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. But he didn’t seem too interested in talking about the game, or his recovery from a torn Achilles, with the NBA on TNT crew: Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal.
“He shot me a text message last night and he said, ‘Why aren’t you here? I’d rather be talking to you,’” NBA on TNT analyst Jared Greenberg said on The DA Show, laughing. “I think this is kind of the soap opera of the NBA. The storylines between the games seem to be as exciting – or more exciting – than what happens on the court or in the game. I think one of the things that you and me and a lot of NBA fans are going to be constantly watching and talking about – examining and over-examining – is the body language and the behavior of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Let’s face facts: these are two of the more moody people in the NBA, and you never quite understand why they’re upset or what’s going on with them.”
Durant hadn’t played an NBA game in 561 days. When Barkley asked Durant about his recovery, though, Durant offered a one-word response.
“I’m not making excuses for him. He definitely was in a mood,” Greenberg said. “But those interviews – when you do it with a studio and the camera is probably 200 feet away from you as opposed to a handheld camera right in your face, it’s kind of difficult to interact with the people that are with you.”