There are several perfectly good reasons for a person of Kevin Durant’s stature to have a personal bodyguard. He’s super-famous. Sports fans are not super-reasonable. Despite resources that put pretty much all forms of enrichment and entertainment at his fingertips, Durant prefers to spend a not-insignificant number of the all-too-precious minutes of his one life arguing with strangers online, some of them possibly deranged maniacs. You can imagine any number of plausible scenarios where Durant’s personal bodyguard might need to jump between his client and potential danger. Since Durant is at worst the third-best basketball player on the planet and is employed by the Brooklyn Nets, it makes sense that the Nets should have this bodyguard on their organizational payroll.
One thing Durant’s personal bodyguard should absolutely never be involved in, for as long as either of them live, is a heated argument between Durant and a fellow NBA player on an actual NBA court, during a by-God NBA playoff game. There is perhaps no safer public space in America than the center of an on-court beef in the NBA, where chirps and chest-bumps are exchanged with nothing even approaching bad intentions. Anyone who would dare collect a paycheck as an NBA player’s personal bodyguard surely must understand that. I don’t know which of Durant or the bodyguard should be more embarrassed by this, but for sure they should both be supremely, cripplingly embarrassed, forever:
That late-arriving doofus wearing all black who shoulder-checked P.J. Tucker during Milwaukee’s Game 3 win, after he and Durant had been separated by referees and teammates, is Durant’s “personal bodyguard, who is on the Nets’ payroll,” according to a report from The Athletic. This man saw two professional basketball players having a heated exchange on the court during a playoff game and decided the appropriate course of action was to run onto the floor and throw his body into one of them. This strikes me as astonishingly poor judgment: An NBA player who decks a fellow NBA player during a kerfuffle is looking at a lengthy suspension and professional disgrace; an NBA player who levels a random stranger clad in all black who suddenly and randomly engages them on an NBA floor during a game has acted reasonably to protect himself from potentially an interfering lunatic. The split-second forbearance that kept Tucker from slugging this guy into another dimension deserves a damn Nobel prize. However trained for conflict this goober is, you simply do not want to catch a right hook from P.J. Tucker, who is built like a cannonball and is roughly as dense.
Team-sponsored personnel rushing onto the court to physically break up a mid-game argument is the NBA equivalent of stadium security form-tackling Davey Martinez for giving the first-base umpire the business over a bad call. It’s pathetic aggro-cop behavior, but without even the badge. This was either grandstanding or stupidity of a cosmic magnitude; in either case neither Durant nor this unnamed goon must ever be allowed to live the moment down. But the bulk of the shame must fall on Durant: For having a bodyguard who rushed the court to protect him from an opponent in a basketball game on live national television, and/or for being the sort of person that a security professional might sincerely believe needs to be protected from a work argument, Kevin Durant must immediately shrink by seven inches. Those are the rules.