A heated back-and-forth between NBA star Kevin Durant and the actor Michael Rapaport exploded into public view on Tuesday after Rapaport posted screenshots of direct messages in which the Brooklyn Nets forward appeared to use homophobic, misogynistic and profane language.
“I receive threats and disgusting messages DAILY, but never in my wildest dreams did I think @KDTrey5 would be among them,” Rapaport wrote on Tuesday afternoon. “The (snake emoji) himself is now threatening me, bringing up my wife and wants to fight. This is supposed to be America’s sweetheart right? #ImDaRealMVP”.
In a private conversation which appears to date back to last year, the 11-time NBA All-Star attacked the 51-year-old actor and sports podcaster with a flurry of highly profane insults. Durant went on to ask for Rapaport’s address and challenge him to a fistfight on the streets on New York.
“Your wife doesn’t even respect your bitch ass,” Durant wrote.
According to the screenshots, the confrontation began when Rapaport criticized Durant’s post-game interview with TNT’s Charles Barkley after Brooklyn’s season-opening victory over the Golden State Warriors in December.
Rapaport tweeted at the time: “KD seemed deeply in his feelings with the (TNT) crew after the game. DAMNIT he’s super sensitive about everything. Don’t do the interview.”
Durant responded by calling Rapaport a “bitch”, a “pussy”, a “pale pasty cum guzzling bitch” and a “piece of shit”, before a series of insults targeting the actor’s wife.
The 32-year-old Durant appeared to confirm the authenticity of the direct messages in a tweet on Tuesday, then made a tepid attempt to defuse the situation in Rapaport’s Instagram comments, writing: “my bad I apologize”.
Durant could be subject to NBA discipline in light of the league’s precedent for punishing anti-gay rhetoric. The late Kobe Bryant and LA Clippers guard Rajon Rondo were both fined for using homophobic slurs.
Previously, Durant has been caught on multiple occasions using both primary and burner Twitter accounts to defend himself from criticism on the social media platform.
In 2017, shortly after he joined the Golden State Warriors as a free agent, he responded to a fan who asked for “one legitimate reason” for Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder. Writing in the third person, Durant responded by saying “he didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan” and that “his roster wasn’t that good, it was just him and [Russell Westbrook].”
Eagle-eyed users quickly noticed the responses came from Durant’s verified feed and not, as likely intended, from an anonymous burner account.
“I use Twitter to engage with fans,” Durant said on Tuesday during a panel at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco. “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 about what I really love, to play basketball.
“I don’t regret clapping back at anybody or talking to my fans on Twitter. 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.”
In 2018, he didn’t even bother with a burner when he clapped back at teenage fan Kalyb Champion who posted a photo of Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis with the caption: “3 elite two way players but don’t elevate a team quite like LeBron and Steph due to their playmaking/leadership deficiencies.”
Durant was quick to comment on the thread, writing: “Bruh go sweep ya dorm room, u don’t know hoops. Stop tagging me in this trash”.
Champion, then 17, wrote about the experience for the Guardian.
“I don’t have any negative feelings towards Durant,” Champion wrote. “I appreciate that he acknowledged what I had to say, but didn’t like the way he went about taking personal shots at me.”