In the 2016 playoffs, when Kevin Durant intercepted a question intended for Russell Westbrook concerning his thoughts on Dallas owner Mark Cuban’s comment that Westbrook was not a superstar, and Durant retorted with, “Cuban is an idiot,” knowing full well that Cuban was attempting to cause a rift between teammates in order to help his Mavericks squad, did that interjection make Westbrook look weak? Or like a lesser teammate? Or subservient to Durant? There’s no mention of it in Berry Tramel’s April 27th, 2016 article at NewsOK.com.
In fact, quite the contrary, Tramel refers to Durant’s reply as the “now famous line,” something that defined Durant’s leadership in their unlikely playoff run last year.
Fast forward to today.
In a similar post-game presser with Westbrook and Steven Adams sitting side by side, Tramel took a very different perspective.
Let’s view the video:
The Funaki looks as intimidating as ever, as far as I can tell. Russell was just voicing the team sentiment that says if any of us looks bad, we all look bad. A sentiment that has defined this young team all season. Where was this question from Tramel a month ago, 2 months ago, 3 months ago? Why wait til the Thunder are on the brink of elimination with every major national sports media is present to witness it? The issue has been a recurring problem all season, yet when the team needs to stay together more than ever, why does Tramel pull this question out?
The answer is quite elementary. He knew it flew into the face of everything Westbrook believes in regarding his team and knew it would draw a reaction. He knows Russell doesn’t like him. How? Because Russell told him so (aside: possibly related), and the comment drew national attention and an outpouring of sympathy from the media.
The outcome and reward of Tramel’s latest exchange with Westbrook? An interview on the nationally syndicated Dan Patrick Show and yet another opportunity to bash Westbrook:
(and Tramel is surprised Westbrook doesn’t like him, smh)
The truth is, Tramel basically asked a “do you still beat your wife” type of loaded question and pulled it on a young player on his first trip to the post-season podium. How exactly was Adam’s supposed to answer Tramel’s query, which amounts to, “why do you guys suck when Russell goes to the bench?” in any way that wouldn’t step on some teammate’s toes? He couldn’t. So Russ took the question and shoved it down Tramel’s throat, and I say HERE HERE!! for what it’s worth. Russell did answer the question, just not how Tramel expected, and he did it in the way you should address such a logical fallacy - by challenging the underlying presumption behind it, and he roasted Berry for it. Maybe Tramel missed the lesson that if you stick your hand on a hot stove you’ll get burned somewhere along the way.
That was a question for Billy Donovan, not the players. Tramel knew it, Tramel ignored the decorum, got the rise he wanted from it, and Tramel got his 3 minutes of fame for it. This is what he does. Who can forget this gem from post-seasons past?
(nice job there Berry. Been trying to make up for that one ever since it blew up in your face)
Now he is after Westbrook and his team and Russell isn’t having it. Any of it. He told Stan Van Gundy before Game 4 he was sick of the “Russell and his cast” narrative and that the Thunder were one team. Tramel knew that, but still tried to put Adams into a divisive posture... and he got called out for it.
ESPN’s Michael Smith defends Westbrook:
Ironically, or perhaps conveniently, poor pitiful Tramel wants to play the “victim” card for Dan Patrick, forgetting that he clearly gave his “okay” to a “no comment response” in the interview.
Let’s go the reverse angle replay.... roll the video:
Well, he got one, just not the one he wanted or from who “King Berry” deemed should provide it. He got it Westbrook style, with hot sauce, a wave of the hand, and a sneer of pure derision. Steven Adams didn’t need to add more, not because he is weak ( and I would dearly love to see Tramel call Adams weak to his face), but because there was nothing more that needed to be said. That’s a no comment by way of not commenting.
The question was out of line and designed to be divisive, and Tramel got what he deserved.
Back to my original question.
Why would he call Durant’s comment “famous” and “charming” but call Russell’s “intimidating,” when the “oh so surprised” Tramel spoke to Dan Patrick?
Because Durant referred to Mark Cuban as the dunce.