Peyton Manning always seemed to have a knack for entertaining off the field.
Between ESPN promos, Nationwide Insurance commercials, and Papa John’s commercials, Manning has shown respectable comedic timing.
Manning parlayed his acting chops into hosting the ESPYs, where he slayed. Except, one athlete didn’t think so.
During his opening monologue, Manning made a joke about Kevin Durant, and he did not take it well at all.
From USA Today:
Peyton Manning opened up the ESPYS by taking jabs at a bunch of athletes and teams, as every host of every award show does. One of his jokes was aimed right at NBA champ and Finals MVP Kevin Durant, who responded hilariously.
Manning said, “Our gymnastics team was so dominant that Kevin Durant told me he wants to play for them next year” (you know, since KD left the Thunder for the Warriors to win his first ring).
Durant stared daggers at Manning during the entire uncomfortable 30-second moment. Later, Durant took to Twitter to express himself with one emoji tweet.
Since the incident, there seems to be damage control that Kevin Durant was “in on” the joke, but there is zero evidence of that.
If that was an act, Durant may have a future in acting. Plus, if it were an “act,” it would’ve been made clear later in the night, perhaps if Durant were one of the presenters. That didn’t happen.
Only a day later did the “he was in on it” narrative emerge. If he were truly in on it, he would’ve hammed up his heel persona. Again, that didn’t happen.
The truth appears to be that Durant knows what he did will tarnish his legacy, and he’s very thin-skinned about it.
His move to the Warriors is particularly ironic because he lambasted LeBron James for “taking [his] talents to South Beach” in the summer of 2010.
LeBron was only able to salvage his legacy by returning to Cleveland and winning a championship, but there’s still residual grime over his initial exit.
Durant must get over the self-consciousness and just own his decision. Even his mother, seated next to him, could laugh at the joke.
However, after the show, she said she “didn’t appreciate” the slight, which further goes against the collaboration narrative.
Sports fans, please judge for yourselves.
Does it look like Kevin Durant is “in on” the joke?
Durant joke… https://t.co/Xi7idHbWVi