The NBA playoffs are officially upon us. And that can only mean one thing…
More black-rimmed glasses, buttoned up plaid collared shirts and those signature trendy single strap-buckled backpacks Kevin Durant rocked during postseason press conferences for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season.
Dallas Mavericks, you’ve been warned.
The NBA’s “geek-chic fashion pioneer” is ready to handle some unfinished business starting Saturday when the Thunder face the defending champ Mavs in the first round of the NBA playoffs. But before Durant throws his iPad, bible and other goodies in his backpack and heads to the arena, he first needs to be applauded for winning his third-straight NBA scoring title.
On Thursday afternoon, the Thunders all-everything small forward became the seventh player in NBA history to win three consecutive scoring titles joining Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, George Mikan, Neil Johnston, Bob McAdoo and George Gervin.
Durant, however, just happens to be the youngest to hoist another scoring title hardware at 23-years old.
Durant finished with a scoring average of 28 points per game by dropping 32 points against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, and when Kobe Bryant (who averaged 27.8 points per game) opted to sit out the Los Angeles Lakers’ regular-season finale against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, the title went to Durant.
Not bad for a guy who is the coolest “nerd” in the history of the NBA.
At least, TIME Magazine’s sports blog, Keeping Score, sees it that way.
In an insightful on-the-go interview, Durant discussed “the social impact of his nerd-chic style, why he’s committed to Oklahoma City, and his approach to stardom” on the eve of another postseason appearance by one of the league’ young superstars.
“It’s just me representin’ home and me just, you know, having a different style from everybody else I guess,” Durant said about his preppy-dress movement mainstream.
“I’m just enjoying everything, man. Nowadays I can just throw something on and feel comfortable in it. As opposed to before, I was a little nervous about that.”
Durant grew up in Maryland, right outside of Washington, D.C and blew up at the University of Texas. You know the story: national college player of the year as a freshman, second overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft by Seattle (sorry Portland), 2008 Rookie of the Year, perennial All-Star, and he can now boast a third-straight scoring title.
Still, during the Thunders’ playoff run last season it’s almost as if Durant’s fashion swag got more press than Oklahoma City losing to Dallas in the Western Conference Finals.
It’s all good though.
Growing up in the league these past few seasons and now being one of the marquee players in the game, Durant’s openness to show his true colors is refreshing even if we are only talking about the man’s threads. Heck, we already know how dope he is on the floor.
“Everyone wonders what people think. I was just one of those guys. Being in this league, you have to learn how to have tough skin. That’s what I’ve learned. Twitter has helped me have tough skin, you hear so many crazy things on there, you just learn how to be numb to it, you know what I mean? Playing on the basketball court helps, but more so growing up as a young man – inner confidence is something that goes a long way. I’m still working on it.”
Here is the scary part about Durant. The man is only going to get better.
Cool off the court, cool on the court.
Geek-chic fashion sense aside, by claiming another scoring title this season Durant just moved a step closer to perhaps walking away with NBA MVP honors as well. Those LeBron James backers out there no doubt will make their case, but looking at KD’s overall numbers says it all.
Along with 28 points per game, he averaged career-highs in rebounds, assists, blocked shots and field-goal percentage during his fifth year in the league. He also led Oklahoma City to a 47-19 record.
So when the No. 2 seed Thunder open the first round of the Western Conference playoffs against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, just remember two things:
Thanks to Durant, Oklahoma City is still the favorite to come out of the West.
And, being labeled a “nerd” has never been so cool.