You could understand, then, if the superstar swingman for the Oklahoma City Thunder wasn't quite sure to whom the media were referring when they mentioned White, a rookie forward for the Houston Rockets who has never appeared in an official NBA game, after OKC's 107-100 loss in Game 5 (via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle):
'Who’s he?' Durant said.
When told that White is the Rockets rookie first-round pick from Iowa State, Durant seemed to remember.
'I haven’t seen him on the bench,' Durant said. 'He hasn’t played against us so I’m not worried about guys that’s not even in our series. Ain’t that the guy that can’t, that’s afraid to fly? I wish him the best. If I see him next year, I’ll let him know who we are.'
So why, pray tell, would anyone be asking K.D. about White? After all, the rookie forward out of Iowa State hasn't played a single minute in this playoff series and is far better known for his fear of flying than for his hoops exploits.
Let's go back to May 1, just after Houston managed to stave off elimination against the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder in OKC. Ever the active tweeter and enthusiastic Rockets employee, White let it be known that OKC was looking "shaky":
Do ppl ACTUALLY think if they tweet enough I'm going to change? "Never change when you're winning." Say what I want...#FreedomOfSpeech— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 2, 2013
Evidently, Royce thought the ramifications of his jab had run their course:
Ok, enough playing with the all twitter/b-ball fanatics. Back to regularly scheduled programming... #BeWell— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 2, 2013
Until the next morning, when White awoke to a flood of Internet venom. He did his best to quell the angry mob, insisting that he was "only a spectator":
That it doesn't matter if he played or not because he's not talking smack:
Chill for what? what's going to happen? Im not talking s**t, OKC looked a little SHAAAKYY. Regardless if I ever play a single min. #BeWell— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 2, 2013
That his anxiety disorder has nothing to do with his freedom of speech:
I wasn't at the game, didn't play all season, scared of heights and i'm a #anxietytrooper... NOW... OKC is STILL looking SHAAAKYY BAAABYY.— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 2, 2013
And that he's well aware of Kevin Durant's on-court superiority:
Relax ppl, I can't hold a candle stick to @kdtrey5 on the court. He's a deadly player, But... they're still looking SHAAAKYY BAAABYY! Lol— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 2, 2013
I had a twitter acct before the NBA, will have one after... so why would me playing or not dictate what I say? Lol...smh, fanatics!#BeWell— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 2, 2013
I keep seeing the phrase "you can't talk...", but I am + I'm having a great time doing it. On top of that you're commenting + upset. #BeWell— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 2, 2013
I went to bed having stated the obvious, woke up a "hot topic"... got the haters in an uproar and the #AnxietyTroopers motivated. Good day!— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 2, 2013
I wonder if they keep tweeting me, will I eventually feel I said something wrong or take it back...? NO, lol I say what I think. #SHAAAKYY— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 2, 2013
You getting angry enough to tweet profanities is a reflection of you and proves MOST of my points... #BeWell— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 3, 2013
Last time I checked I didn't need tweeters or twitters permission to tweet something... you can what you want. #BeWell— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 3, 2013
Before finally (and mercifully) "signing off."
That's quite a bit of motivational fuel that Durant could justifiably throw into his personal fire ahead of Game 6. He insists that he won't (via Jonathan Feigen):
I don’t get fired up off stuff. I get fired up just playing this game, enjoying the game. Like I said, I wish him the best. I wish he could have played and really felt this intensity for a playoff game, but I guess watching on TV is better.
Not that Durant's semi-diss will stop Royce White because, evidently, the D-Leaguer is Twitter's latest answer to Cartman on Maury...or something.