The assumption, amid all the pregame fist bumps and all those offseason charity games, is that NBA players are part of a tight-knit fraternity where everyone knows everyone else.
But amid these NBA Finals that feature relatively publicity-shy Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, a window has been opened that says otherwise.
Not only has Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade acknowledged he knows little about Durant, he said during a Final media session he also has been somewhat in the dark over his career about an NBA star with even more enduring success.
Asked what he knew about Durant off the court, Wade pleaded ignorance. By contrast, Durant and Heat forward LeBron James spent considerable time working out together during the lockout, including a flag-football game between teams of themselves and their friends.
Get Miami Heat news as it happens. Download the FREE Miami Hoops app
“I don’t have a personal relationship with K.D. outside the court like him and LeBron did, spent time in the summer,” Wade said. “If I see him, it’s, ‘What up, KD, what up?’ It’s one of those where I respect his game. But I don’t know a lot about him, either. I know probably just as much as you guys know. “And sometimes it’s where you’re at. If he was in Los Angeles, Chicago, somewhere, it would be a little different. Being in Oklahoma kind of dims his light a little bit, not him on the basketball court, but him off the court. There’s not a lot of exciting things going on out here.”
Wade said, to a degree, he appreciates Durant being able to enjoy a relatively tame existence as an NBA star, quiet moments that Wade finds rare in South Florida, his Chicago hometown and elsewhere
“Yeah, I enjoy it,” Wade said. “I like quiet as much as possible. I look for quiet every morning I wake up and leave my house. I look for the opportunity for no one to see me. That’s not the cards I was dealt.”
Indeed, it seems the small-city aspect leaves certain NBA stars out of the loop, such as notoriously shy San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan.
“Some players have that ability,” Wade said. “Tim Duncan is like that. Watching the playoffs, I’ve seen, I’m sure, I don’t know if I’m correct, but I’ve seen Tim Duncan sitting on the bench before every game, two kids run up to him, it was a girl and a boy, I didn’t know he had kids. I’m assuming they’re his. They kind of look like him.”
He laughed and paused. And, yes, Duncan does have a son and a daughter.
“But you don’t know everything about guys because of certain places they are,” he said. “Certain guys are so . . . try to stay out of the limelight as much as possible, whatever the case may be. It’s different strokes for different folks.”
email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/iraheatbeat