There's stoic, and then there's Kevin Durant.
Or, at least there was.
The typically unexcitable MVP candidate appears to be letting loose, relatively speaking anyway. It all started with his first career ejection on Jan. 2 in what became a rare OKC Thunder loss to the Brooklyn Nets:
Kevin Durant just got ejected. Hold up, what?— chris palmer (@ESPNChrisPalmer) January 3, 2013
After picking up a third technical foul on Jan. 6 in an uneventful win against the Toronto Raptors, KD took to Twitter for a public mea culpa:
3 techs in 3 games, not like me...@kendrickperkins is a bad influence on my life lol jk..I will be better, sorry guys— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 6, 2013
No apologies necessary. And certainly no need to eschew the newfound passion (via USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt):
"They should give me a reward for how many calls I think are good," Durant said. "But they penalize me for the ones I think aren't. That's part of the game. I have to calm down sometimes. I get too excited and too emotional in the game and it takes over for the bad when I get those techs."
Durant may indeed be saying all the right things. He usually does. But, his recent outbursts are a far cry from the tantrum-prone atmosphere that typifies your average entitled superstar. If anything, Durant's just proving how much he cares.
When a guy so effortlessly claims scoring championships and leads his young club to the NBA Finals, you might be lulled into thinking he's just going through the motions.
Of course, we should know better—whether Durant's demonstrative about it or not.
Dropping 42 points while shooting 16-of-25 from the field should speak loudly enough, even if it was against the Lakers. We also might have taken a hint from his willingness to spend part of his offseason working out with rival and friend LeBron James.
It should be obvious enough that Durant cares about winning, even if he's less extroverted about it than other big names in this league.
Unfortunately, silence is too often confused with apathy, especially on a stage where flashiness is preferred to dutiful execution.
To that end, OKC's favorite good guy can afford to be a bit grittier. He can afford to be "too excited and too emotional."
There are plenty of players who owe fans an apology or two, but Durant isn't one of them.