I’ve never understood completely why Kevin Durant lies about his height and insists on being written down as a 6’9 forward. Good thing that a 6’11 point-forward like Giannis Antetokounmpo can point out the silliness in it.
As Antetokounmpo said on a recent podcast: I don’t know, I’m 6’11.5″ so 7′, almost 7′, 7′ with shoes, 7’1″-7’2″ with high heels, I don’t know. No, no, I’m… actually, let’s be honest, 6’9″ like KD.
Why does Kevin Durant insist on being listed as 6’9? Well, he liked being labeled as a small forward, and works from the assumption that once you’re listed as 6’10 or higher, you’re immediately put into the power forward or center bracket, which means you’re expected to play in the post a lot more (Durant actually scores a lot of points on post ups) and guard big men. And maybe, just like the myth about Stephen Curry being a small point guard (he’s actually a pretty big PG), it helps tell the story of someone making it against certain odds.
Durant isn’t the first player in history to “sell himself short” (Ha Ha), as taller than usual wing players prefer to be written down as shorter than they actually are. It might be an attempt to fight height stigmas (like anyone who is 7 foot being immediately sent to “big man school”). Durant might also feel that it’s simply a good height for a small forward, whatever that means. I doubt anyone ever confused him for Hakeem Olajuwon or a under-the-rim banger.
Durant is around 6’11, maybe 7′. In pictures standing next to DeMarcus Cousins Durant appears to be taller. Antetokounmpo has pictures next to Greg Monroe, who is listed as 6’11, and Antetokounmpo seems a bit taller. But then again, Giannis doesn’t seem to mind being taller. The height doesn’t matter, not in today’s NBA. It’s about the skills, which is why Antetokounmpo is playing like a point guard from the forward position, not posting up down low on players who might be shorter, but are probably stronger than him. James Harden is playing like a point guard, officially, and no one is discriminating against him because of being above the average point guard height.
In the end, as Linkin Park say, it doesn’t even matter. Being 6’9 or 7′, Durant is who he is. As a basketball player, and as a person. He’s an MVP caliber player, but also someone who cares a lot about what’s being said and written about him. As it turns out, some NBA players find it quite ridiculous that he’s trying to label himself as shorter than he really is.