No self-esteem issues for Walt Frazier, whose Twitter profile reads thusly:
New York City icon and NY Knicks basketball legend; NBA Hall of Fame player; television analyst for MSG Networks coverage of New York Knicks.
Not to mention his eatery Walt Fraziers Wine and Dine (specializing in globally inflected American fare) hard by the Lincoln Tunnel and equidistant from the New York Museum of Contemporary Art and the Hells Kitchen Flea Market.
You would think the 73-year-old bon vivant has a life in full, with no time for petty squabbles and unseemly snipes.
Youd be wrong. Earlier this week Frazier, the erstwhile smooth shooting guard, dropped in on Sirius XM NBA Radio and out of nowhere dumped on the Warriors Kevin Durant.
Durant, as great a player he is, I would still hold back (giving him credit) because he joined a team that really didnt need him, Frazier said, according to Yahoo Sports. Hes right there with LeBron, probably would have passed LeBron as the best player in the game soon, but for him doing that I still dont give him the full credit that he probably wouldve deserved if he stayed in OKC and won a title with that team.
Asked where Durant ranks among the greats of the game, Frazier replied: Hes going to be down the list for me because of (his decision to sign with the Warriors), Frazier said. There will be an asterisk next to his name.
Youll recognize that as an offshoot of Portland guard CJ McCollums stated gripe earlier this summer that Durants defection to the Warriors was soft.
Two thoughts come to mind. One, enough with the asterisks already. Theyre as tiresome as the Greatest of All Time debates, ever irresolvable and a spectacular waste of time.
And two, once upon a time the great Oscar Robertson fought the NBA bitterly for free agency, suing the league for the right to do precisely what Kevin Durant did in the summer of 2016 chart their own professional destiny. Frazier was there. You think hed remember.
Free agency was granted in 1976, two years after Robertson retired. Not only was he denied the fruits of his labor, he never worked in any capacity with the NBA afterward. He believes he was blackballed.
So yes, it was a huge victory for the players. And now we have guys telling Durant he should have stayed put. Good grief.
Durant has defended himself against the slings and arrows. I know yall trying to make me look crazy and discredit me and strip me of my credibility, he said in July. I see what (youre) doing. But Im going to still keep standing.
Durants manager, Rich Kleiman stepped in after Fraziers comments, issuing a tart tweet:
Interestingly, Kleiman is a huge Knicks fan and, appearing on a recent Bill Simmons podcast, stated an interest in running the team. I really want to run the Knicks. Dead serious.
This, of course, has led to wild speculation that Durant and Kleiman will throw in with the Knicks next offseason. Maybe they can find a position in the organization for Frazier. Vice President in charge of Asterisk Development sounds about right.