And now the season is all over and we turn our eyes to soccer to dull the pain and searing loss that we experienced watching a team win it all that we had a good shot at beating if we were healthy.
It’s time for the draft. Kevin Durant and Sam Presti went to dinner again to discuss their options. This is that story.
When Sam Presti walked into KD’s he was greeted by a woman named Monica and she was tall and blonde and pretty and she was singing along to Miranda Lambert — talking about a house she grew up in — and her voice sounded like syrup. The wind caught her hair as the door closed and it tossed it all around and she didn’t bother with it and Presti was attracted to her but he spoke nothing of it.
He caught his reflection in the glass casing that housed signed basketballs and some 10 pairs of Durant’s past shoes, all of them signed, too, and he did not like what he saw in himself. A flustered man was spread out before him. His eyes were low and tired with bags below them. His hair was not fixed, and his Southern Hills golf polo had a stain across the front — a mishandled ice cream cone issue from weeks ago. He turned away from his reflection and looked at her.
Hello, he said.
She did not smile.
Mr. Presti. Right this way.
He watched her walk and she moved like water did and led him into the private, banquet room in the center of the dining area. The skinny one with the opaque walls that most use for anniversary parties and work functions and engagement dinners. There was music playing — some Wale something, “The Kramer”, maybe — and at the far end of the table was Kevin Durant.
Durant was almost entirely in all black. Black suit, black shirt, black shoes. The one bit of color on him was a pocket square. It rose barely up above the pocket on the front of his suit and it was a neon orange the color of lava and new Oklahoma State road jerseys.
Sammy, he said.
Have a seat.
There were two chairs at the table and Durant was in one and the other was at the end of the table opposite him. Presti sat down at the far end and the chair was red velvet and its back rose some ten feet in the air. It had no armrests. Presti sat there staring at Durant and was expecting a talking to about the franchise and the future and the way he feels. He felt nervous and his knee was bouncing some and he tried to look around the room but Durant’s eyes were magnets and he kept finding his eyes locking onto his.
Durant snapped his fingers and a man dressed in all white appeared beside Presti.
Presti looked at Durant. Then he looked at the man. Then he looked at Durant again.
Just, like, a Sprite?
The man in white turned away and Durant snapped his fingers again.
Belay that order, Jerry.
Sam, let’s drink something. This is not some little league baseball field. This is KD’s. I have a lit staircase that leads to a wine loft and nothing else. Drink something nice.
I’m really fine.
You’re not fine. Look at you. You look like Thabo’s jumpshot. What kind of wine you like?
Kevin, really, it’s okay. I’ll be good with the pop.
What kind of wine do you like, Sam?
Um. Red, I guess.
Bring the ’08 Abeja, Jerry.
Two glasses, sir?
What a dumb question. Of course. Never ask me something stupid like that again.
It was silent in the room and Presti began to run his hands through his hair and he took his glasses off and breathed onto them and then wiped them with the bottom of his shirt. Durant watched him as he did this and said nothing. To Durant’s right was a remote and he picked it up and pressed a button and a song began to play.
You know this song, Sammy?
No. What is it?
It’s red dirt. Grimy stuff. “Oklahoma Breakdown”. Stoney LaRue. You know Stoney?
No. I listen to soft rock mostly.
How you mean soft? Eagles or something?
The Eagles, yea. Floyd. Some old Neil. Fleetwood. I really like Big Star.
Big Star’s good.
You know Big Star?
I do. “Thirteen” is a great song.
Yes it is.
But Stoney. You know why I like this song?
Because he takes a sad time and he makes it a party.
The song itself, the words, they’re sad words. What happens in the song is sad. But he parties the song up. There’s something raw about that to me. He has a good time despite the heartbreak, you know?
Jerry came back and poured the wine into the two glasses and was nodding his head as he did so. When the wine had been poured he left the room and Durant watched Presti and they didn’t talk, they only drank. Presti’s eyes kept moving around the room and he was fidgeting and it was like he thought someone was going to appear behind him and stab him.
You don’t know what you’re going to do, do you?
We have ideas. We’re exploring options. We think there will be quality players in the 20’s when it comes time for us to pick. Potential trades. CJ Miles is enticing.
You always do this. You stress out about the draft like a man who hasn’t knocked it out of the park in the past.
I know. But this is a big draft for us. This is a big moment.
Every moment from here on out is big, baby. So you might as well get used to it. Lean into it. Make friends with the big. Love the big.
You’re right. It’s just…if we don’t pick the right…
Yo, you picked me, right? That worked out pretty well. Look at me now. Look at these menus.
What about them?
Open it up, Sam.
Presti opened the menu and it began to glow.
They light up. That’s dope, right? Light up menus? It enables us to keep the ambience in here super chill and it also looks fresh.
It’s hurting my eyes.
No it’s not. Hey, Sammy. It wasn’t just me either. You’re no one and done. Not some one hit wonder. You’re not LFO. Russ? Serge? James? Stevo? All us. You picked us all. You did that. So chill out.
Love the big.
Love the big, baby.
LFO wasn’t really a one hit wonder, though.
LFO, they weren’t a one hit wonder.
Yea they were. They only every had “Summer Girls”, that was it.
Nooo. They also had “Girl On TV”.
“Girl On TV” wasn’t a hit.
Yes it was. They played the video on the Disney Channel all the time. I know all the words.
That don’t make something a hit.
In my world it does.
We’re getting off track here. Let’s agree to disagree on that.
But you see what I’m trying to tell you. You got something other people don’t have.
Presti said nothing.
You got the ability to lean into the big and love it. Be buddies with it.
Be buddies with the big.
They both raised their glasses and Durant stood up and bounced around singing.
Lemme tell youuuuuuuuuu, that I loooooooved youuuuuuuuuu, ooooone moooooore tiiiiime.
Outside the sun was setting and the sun was dropping behind the Bricktown buildings painting the sky the same orange as Durant’s pocket square. And the sun took its time dying because night can wait in the summers.