Stan Van Gundy on viral exchange with Kevin Durant: ‘I thought he was disagreeing with me’


Since leaving coaching behind, Stan Van Gundy has maintained an active Twitter presence, frequently weighing in on current events, politics and, of course, all the latest NBA happenings. Like many hoops purists, Van Gundy laments the league’s trend toward “load management,” longing for a simpler time back when teams practiced more and took fewer maintenance days, never complaining about back-to-backs or pampering players by granting stars preferential treatment.

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Van Gundy’s musings on this subject quickly gained traction on social media, even getting a cosign from Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kevin Durant. However, Van Gundy, owing to his lack of fluency in internet slang—specifically the term “spitting”—mistook Durant’s praise for hostility, interpreting his comment as an insult while further defending his position in a subsequent tweet. What followed was this hilariously uncomfortable exchange between a Twitter-savvy millennial and a clueless boomer, who, in his 63 years of Earthly existence, had apparently never encountered the term “spittin,” failing to derive its meaning even from context clues.

The popular TNT commentator addressed the gaffe during his appearance Thursday on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, expressing his embarrassment at arguing with Durant, who, in a rare display of earnestness, was actually on his side. “I just thought he was disagreeing with me,” said Van Gundy. “I didn’t know exactly [what he meant], but now I do, because virtually everybody I know told me.”

That’s one way to add a new phrase to your lexicon. Knowing KD’s penchant for online trolling, routinely going after his critics with scathing responses (some more warranted than others), you can understand Van Gundy’s instinct to defend himself, assuming that, like so many media gasbags and talking heads before him, it was his turn to be on the receiving end of another Durant takedown.

“I’ve never really engaged with Kevin Durant on Twitter, so it wasn’t anything to do with him, other than the fact that he’s a player today. I thought he was possibly taking it as an attack on players, which is not what I meant, so I tried to clarify that,” said Van Gundy, who compiled a 554-425 career coaching record (.566 winning percentage) over stints with Miami, Orlando, Detroit and, most recently, New Orleans. “He did [the translation] for me. We have a game of theirs in a couple of weeks in Brooklyn and I will thank him in person.”

All’s well that ends well with Van Gundy, despite making an awkward first impression, ending their interaction on relatively good terms. We’ll see if Durant, who is rehabbing a right knee injury, will be healthy and ready to contribute by the time Van Gundy and his TNT broadcasting crew visit Brooklyn for the Nets’ game against Chicago February 9th at Barclays Center.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images