Some NBA players are vibing the new All-Star Game format, in which two captains are tasked with assembling rosters irrespective of conference affiliation.
Other players, though? Not so much.
The Golden State Warriors find themselves adequately represented in both departments by Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry—two players who not only share opposing views, but who are theoretically in the running for the aforementioned captaincy.
Durant, for his part, is against it, as he told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater:
“I don’t want to do it,” Durant told The Athletic. “I’d rather somebody else do it. It’s cool to be an All-Star, but all the extra stuff … I just want to go play in the game. (The new format)’s cool, a different way, a creative way that’s good for the fans. But me, I’ll let somebody else pick the teams.”
Curry, on the other hand, is all for it, as he also told Slater:
“Why not?” Curry told The Athletic. “I’ll be the first to usher in the new system. I used to go to the playground all the time and you wanted to be the guy picking teams. That meant you were something on the court back in the day. It’ll be a cool vibe to see how it all shakes out and how unique you can make the lineups.”
These views track with what we know about both players—or rather, what we know about Durant.
While the NBA still has no plans to televise the All-Star draft, we know selections and orders are going to leak out. That’s how these things work. (Related: The NBA should just suck it up and televise the draft for this exact reason. They’re only providing their two captains with a thin layer of protection by not doing so.)
Will Durant really want it getting out that he passed over a Warriors teammate, like Curry or Draymond Green, should be named captain? Would he want people knowing he potentially passed over Russell Westbrook? Of course not. The dude may or may not have burner social media accounts. We know he still cares what people think. And that’s fine. You’ll find no criticism of the stock he places in public perception, or his seeming insecurities, in this space.
Curry doesn’t have to give two craps about the optics. For one, he’s not the type of guy who would pass over teammates in the draft anyway. And two, even if he did, he’s the NBA’s Golden Boy. He’ll get to play it off as nothing—as him just giving the people what they want by making a more objective decision.
Most importantly, unlike Durant, Curry isn’t viewed as a championship hanger-on. Like it or not, fair or not, Durant is still battling against the criticism that came with him abandoning the Oklahoma City Thunder. Similar to how to LeBron James only has everything to lose by participating in the NBA’s dunk contest, Durant has nothing to gain by being named an All-Star captain.