Rick Reilly Wears Ed Hardy Shirts…and Talks to Kevin Durant
Rick Reilly wonders in his latest column if Kevin Durant is actually like a regular 22-year-old as Thunder PR keep saying. Oh and he wears Ed Hardy shirts. Of course he does. Absolutely. My lord.
NBA PR flacks keep telling me that Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant is “just like any 22-year-old kid.” They say he does not have a torrid affair going with his wallet or his mirror or his league-stomping 29 points per game. “Perfectly normal,” they insist.
When PR people say this, they obviously don’t mean it in terms of money, which, of course, is exactly where Reilly’s going to take it.
So I called their bluff. I met Durant in Chicago, and I brought along a perfectly normal 23-year-old kid — my son, Jake. We all three met in a hotel lobby and plopped down on a couch.
Ohhhh burn!!! Imagine Reilly saying, oooohhhhh burn, wagging his hand, crouching a bit, and covering his mouth in theatrical surprise while wearing an Ed Hardy shirt.
Scary, isn’t it? Sorry, I’m jumping the gun a bit on this one. But, really, that’s the big story here.
Anyway, let’s delve into Reilly’s awesome piece of investigative reporting. By awesome I mean terrible, and by investigative reporting I mean eating lunch with his dopey son and Kevin Durant.
“Let’s compare lives! Want to?” I said.
Oh oh oh. Yes. I do. I do. I do.
Wages: Kevin makes an average of $17 million a year playing for the Thunder, plus $8.5 million a year from Nike.
Jake, a student at Chicago Portfolio School, makes about $5,400 a year as a part-time barista. That’s $8.95 an hour, or about $103,649 an hour less than Kevin. Then again, Kevin doesn’t get tips.
Flaw number one. Thunder PR is not referring to money. Nobody thinks that Kevin Durant is like any other 22-year-old in terms of money. Obviously they don’t mean that.
Home: Kevin rents a seven-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot mansion in Oklahoma City with its own theater.
Jake rents half of a 450-square-foot apartment. His bedroom has no closet, so he keeps his clothes on two chairs at the foot of his bed. It’s above a stitch-’em-up medical center. “It’s open 24/7,” Jake says, “for round-the-clock stabbing convenience.”
Once again, this is directly related to money. And, oh God no, young Jake certainly seems to have his dad’s sense of humor.
Another possible mission of this post, as a friend pointed out to me, is that Reilly’s shilling for his kid, trying to get him a job or something.
Cars: Kevin owns a sweet conversion van with TVs, an Xbox, and a pull-out bed. He also has a $128,000 Mercedes S63 AMG and a Maybach, whose price he won’t discuss, though Diddy just bought his 16-year-old son one for $360,000.
Jake takes the bus or walks between home, his job and portfolio school. It’s 20 minutes between all three. It forms a kind of ragged isosceles triangle, as does the hole in his right shoe.
Here, again, this all about money. What is the point of this? Wouldn’t it be better to actually get to know Kevin Durant and see how he acts, what video games he plays, etc. Then again, as someone who makes $10 million for basically doing nothing, and as someone who has a terrible sense of humor, and as someone who has the personality of a twelve year-old, he probably puts a lot of weight into the whole money thing as a defining part of someone.
Hopes and dreams: Kevin wants to win an Olympic ring, a mess of NBA rings and more NBA scoring titles.
“How many [scoring titles] did Jordan win?” he asks.
“Whoa! OK, then 11. I can dream, can’t I?”
How many rings would you like?
“How many years do most guys play?”
Stars play about 15.
“OK, then I want to win 12 rings. I’m not guaranteeing, I’m just saying.”
Right now, he and point guard Russell Westbrook are averaging a combined 51.5 points a game. Nineteen years ago, Jordan and Scottie Pippen combined for 52.5 per game. Can the Oklahoma City Young Guns be that good?
“We can be as big as anybody if we work hard,” Kevin says.
Okay, so Kevin Durant wants to be the best in his profession. A lot of twenty-somethings aspire to the same thing. It’s a very ambitious time.
Jake is trying to beat the high score on the Ms. Pac-Man in the laundromat down the street. “I’m seventh right now, but the thing’s been plugged in since the ’60s, so …”
I wonder how Jake feels about this column? It’s like Reilly is taking this opportunity to finally bash someone lamer than he is—his own son. Oh, but Ed Hardy. I almost forgot.
Shopping: Kevin goes into Nordstrom “about every two weeks” and spends between $500 and $600. As we speak, he’s wearing a beautiful high-collared cashmere white number.
Jake refuses much help from his fretting parents and is bent on making it mostly on his own, so he shops at Goodwill sometimes.
“It’s sad when you’re in there in October and realize you’re the only one not shopping for Halloween costumes.”
Again, money. I can’t believe we’re still doing this. All except for one of these things could have easily been rolled into one category: Money.
Oh, here’s something else. Reilly apparently had a decent amount of exclusive time with Kevin Durant. That doesn’t happen everyday. He’s a huge star. And this is what Reilly decides to write about. Comparing Kevin Durant to his son. It’s insane. Why don’t you use this outstanding aspect to write something of substance and something that people actually care about? Seriously. This is an epic failure.
Recent moment of glory: Kevin was just named the Western Conference Player of the Week after scalding New Orleans with 43 points, and he will start for the West in the All-Star Game on Feb. 19 in L.A.
Jake just shimmied out on the ledge of his apartment building in a snowstorm, at 3 a.m., to unplug the stitch-’em-up medical center’s huge neon sign outside his bedroom window. He did it with a deconstructed coat hanger and his roommate holding him by the pants legs. He had to. The sign was so bright he couldn’t sleep.
“Really?” Kevin says, awestruck. “Man, that sounds like a movie!”
Yep. Durant is ridiculously awesome at basketball. Jake Reilly is not. This is asinine.
Annoyances: Kevin gets calls every day from people asking for something. “Shoes, clothes, tickets, money,” he says. “A thousand here, $500 here, $25,000 there. I don’t mind [giving it] if it’s friends who’re struggling. But people just think money grows on trees. My mom used to say that when I was a kid. Now I know what she meant.”
Jake: “I know, right? Seems like my landlord is asking me for money every single month.”
Guys, there’s more than one. The Reilly’s are multiplying. I’m not sure how to handle this. We may need to have to start a militia.
Favorite restaurants : For both, it’s the Wendy’s 99-cent menu, but only Jake is lucky enough to eat it nearly every day.
“Man, I wish we had a Wendy’s near us,” Kevin says. “Love it, man! I’d get the nuggets, a junior bacon [hamburger], some fries, a large light lemonade. Man, at [the University of] Texas, I did that every day before class. Now I never get to go!”
Some guys can’t catch a break.
Hey! I love Wendy’s too! Sweet. I’m just like Kevin Durant.
Charities: Kevin just gave $25,000 to a Washington, D.C., rec center to help refurnish it. This is one-fifteenth of 1 percent of his yearly salary.
Jake usually leaves his coin change in the charity jar by the Wendy’s cash register. This works out to about $70 a year, or 1.3 percent of his yearly salary.
Bad habits: Kevin has already sent more than 15,000 tweets in his young life.
Jake has already lost more than 15,000 cell phones in his young life.
Hardy har har. Oh, that reminds me, Reilly is such a douche that he wears Ed Hardy shirts.
Money worries: Kevin thought about buying something crazy, like a boat, but thought better of it with the NBA’s impending labor troubles. “There might be a lockout,” he says. “I gotta watch it.” After all, he has made only about $100 million so far as a pro.
Jake unplugs his stereo at night so as not to run up the electric bill.
Ah, here we go. The money thing again. Not only did Reilly pinpoint a way that Durant is different from other people his age that is not at all what anybody means when they say that, but he just keeps ramming his head into that same wall over and over and over again.
Not to mention that he completely wasted valuable interview time with Kevin Durant.
Embarrassing fathers: Kevin says his dad, a federal police officer at the Library of Congress in D.C., still thinks he’s 20 years old. “He wears the same clothes I wear. It’s kinda crazy.”
Jake points an accusing finger at me. “I caught him in an Ed Hardy shirt the other day. That’s not good. That’s not good at all.” They look at each other and nod solemnly.
There it is! Reilly. Wears. Ed. Hardy. Gah. I want to kick him.
The future: Both young men are polite, independent and thrilled at the way the future of their own making, whether they get there in Maybachs or Nikes.
Perhaps, one day, one of them will write an ad for the other.
“He’d be easy to write for,” Jake says. “I mean, we have so much in common.”
And now we’ve finally completed Rick Reilly’s roundabout job pitch for his son at the expense of at least an hour alone for an interview with Kevin freaking Durant. Seriously, he totally wasted an exclusive interview with Durant. Lots of guys would kill for that face time. And Reilly just yuks it about nothing. It’s terrible.
And, yep, he wears Ed Hardy shirts. What a douche.