Kevin Du­rant’s Next Play

Win­ning an NBA cham­pi­onship was just the be­gin­ning. With a new me­dia com­pany and grow­ing in­vest­ment port­fo­lio, the Golden State War­riors star for­ward is mak­ing new moves— on an un­fa­mil­iar court.

Fast Company - - Contents - By Matthew Shaer

The NBA star has launched a me­dia com­pany and widerang­ing in­vest­ment port­fo­lio— and that’s just the be­gin­ning.

ON A CRYS­TALLINE DAY THIS PAST SUM­MER, ABOUT EIGHT WEEKS BE­FORE THE OF­FI­CIAL START OF THE BAS­KET­BALL SEA­SON, KEVIN DU­RANT—THE GOLDEN STATE WAR­RIOR, REIGN­ING NBA FI­NALS MVP, AND (DE­PEND­ING ON YOUR CRI­TE­RIA) EITHER THE BEST OR SEC­OND-BEST PURE PLAYER ON PLANET EARTH—IS STAND­ING ON A MAKESHIFT COURT

in the dark­ened cor­ner of a Youtube sound­stage in Los An­ge­les, bounc­ing a ball be­tween his size 18 kicks. On tele­vi­sion, Du­rant looks tall. In per­son, es­pe­cially in the pres­ence of reg­u­la­tion-size hu­mans, he is alpine: 6 feet 9 inches of spin­dled limbs, elon­gated torso, and flash­bulb-re­flect­ing smile.

To­day, he’s dressed in a style that might be de­scribed as High Grunge: faded con­cert T-shirt, bil­lowy flan­nel, ex­tremely ex­pen­sive de­signer cargo pants. It’s not ideal on-court ap­parel, but it doesn’t seem to be hold­ing him back. While the tech­ni­cians on the set do their best not to gawk, he drives to­ward the hoop and, bend­ing his frame around the side of the net, de­posits the ball so pre­cisely the fab­ric hardly whis­pers.

“My turn,” shouts his op­po­nent, a tow­headed mid­dle schooler. “I just want to say, though, that I have to use both of my hands to shoot the ball.”

“That’s okay,” Du­rant laughs. “Some­times I shoot with two hands, too.”

If the two-time Olympic gold medal­ist is sound­ing a lit­tle def­er­en­tial to the 11-yearold now hurl­ing an un­gainly air ball in the gen­eral di­rec­tion of the net, it’s be­cause Du­rant knows this isn’t just any mid­dle schooler. He’s Lin­coln Markham, a Youtube per­son­al­ity who, to­gether with his dad, Dan, co­hosts a pro­gram called What’s In­side?, wherein the duo use an ar­ray of tools to slice open house­hold ob­jects, such as candy jaw­break­ers and Stretch Arm­strong dolls. Du­rant is here to col­lab­o­rate with them on videos that will go out across his fledg­ling Youtube chan­nel and on the Markhams’ as a way to bring to­gether their au­di­ences and draw in new sub­scribers. Be­cause if there’s one thing Lin­coln ex­cels at, it’s amass­ing views: Started as a sec­ond-grade science project, his chan­nel cur­rently has roughly 5 mil­lion sub­scribers who have watched its clips more than 665 mil­lion times.

Kevin Du­rant’s Youtube chan­nel, by com­par­i­son, has 418,000 sub­scribers, and views on even the most pop­u­lar con­tent hover around 3 mil­lion. Granted, the chan­nel, which fea­tures con­tent cre­ated by Du­rant’s video com­pany, Thirty Five Me­dia, only launched in April. (The name refers to the age of Du­rant’s beloved child­hood coach, Charles Craig, at the time of Craig’s mur­der.) And Du­rant is def­i­nitely still find­ing his voice: The col­lec­tion cur­rently con­sists of a hand­ful of live streams shot around his sum­mer rental home in Bev­erly Hills, footage from a re­cent trip to In­dia, and a 35-minute Nike-made doc­u­men­tary, Still KD: Through the Noise, de­fend­ing Du­rant’s sur­prise de­ci­sion, in the sum­mer of 2016, to leave the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der for the Golden State War­riors.

So Du­rant has humbly come to this Youtube sound­stage for what amounts to a les­son in the pe­cu­liar and more in­ti­mate by­laws of in­ter­net star­dom: a live va­ri­ety show with Lin­coln and Dan and sev­eral other top Youtube cre­ators, hosted by the web star Adande Thorne, known on­line as swoozie. “The whole thing, it’s a good way for me to grow sub­scribers,” Du­rant tells me—sub­scribers be­ing the cur­rency of Youtube, and the path to both me­dia-busi­ness cred­i­bil­ity and po­ten­tial mil­lions in ad rev­enue.

The di­rec­tor for to­day’s seg­ment wan­ders out onto the mid­dle of the set. “Places, guys!” he hollers. “And re­mem­ber—we’re here to have fun.”

For the next 40 min­utes, while the cam­eras film, Du­rant trails swoozie across the 4,500-square-foot sound­stage, ob­serv­ing as Lin­coln and Dan slice apart one of his Nike KDXS, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a science ex­per­i­ment guided by an en­er­getic 6-year-old named Ryan, whose Ryan Toys­re­view chan­nel has roughly 9 mil­lion sub­scribers. Through­out, Du­rant wears a stu­dious, at­ten­tive ex­pres­sion, even as he set­tles into a chair across from Sean Evans, of the show Hot Ones, whose shtick is in­ter­view­ing celebri­ties while they gulp down chicken wings lath­ered with pro­gres­sively spicier brands of sauce. The first two wings go down easy.

But by the fifth, as Du­rant gamely tries to an­swer a se­ries of ques­tions, his face is

“As a kid, [Du­rant] was al­ways watch­ing who was com­ing up be­hind him,” says his busi­ness part­ner, Rich Kleiman. “He looks for that now in cre­ators: He wants them to be as para­noid as he was.”

glow­ing with sweat. “That’s just, like, why would you make that,” he ex­claims, fin­ish­ing off a wing fla­vored with Da’ Bomb Be­yond In­san­ity, a liq­uid rated at 27 times the heat of a jalapeño. “How many shows you do a week?” he de­mands of Evans. “Your stom­ach can’t be hold­ing up.”

The clap­per board slams shut. “That’s a wrap,” some­one says. Du­rant lingers for a few min­utes, sign­ing au­to­graphs and pos­ing for pic­tures with staff, be­fore mak­ing his way to his SUV. In the back­seat with the air con­di­tion­ing blast­ing, he and his busi­ness part­ner and best friend, Rich Kleiman, fire up their phones to look at the re­sults: more than 100,000 views of the seg­ment, a num­ber that would grow as the Youtu­bers up­loaded ver­sions to their own pages. (Less than a week af­ter it was re­leased, the Hot Ones clip reached 2 mil­lion views.) “It’s a hit, baby,” Kleiman hoots. Du­rant doesn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond: He’s chug­ging from a 34-ounce bot­tle of Smart­wa­ter.

For him, the va­ri­ety show is just the be­gin­ning. He and Kleiman have big plans for his Youtube chan­nel: They see it grow­ing into a hub for a va­ri­ety of pro­gram­ming, with shows (some hosted by Du­rant and some not) de­voted to en­ter­tain­ment, food, video games, and sports. Over time, they hope the plat­form will al­low the bas­ket­ball star to cir­cum­vent the tra­di­tional me­dia tours a cham­pi­onship player is ex­pected to go on—the late-night talk-show in­ter­views, the sports-ra­dio ap­pear­ances. “This way, I talk di­rectly to my fans,” Du­rant says. “If I have some­thing to say, I’ll stream it to the page. It puts the power in my hands.” Even­tu­ally, scripted pro­gram­ming might fol­low, or a doc­u­men­tary se­ries.

“Part of what’s im­pressed me,” says Neal Mo­han, the chief prod­uct of­fi­cer at Youtube, “is the in­tu­itive grasp Kevin has on the tech­nol­ogy.” Not only is Du­rant up­load­ing new con­tent at a fast clip, Mo­han says, but he is spend­ing a lot of time on the com­mu­nity tab, in­ter­act­ing with fans. “When you build that kind of con­nec­tion, it can be an ex­tremely pow­er­ful thing.”

And power is what Du­rant is look­ing for as he crafts an off-court—and even­tu­ally post-play­ing—ca­reer that con­fers the kind of re­spect and au­thor­ity that he now earns through ath­leti­cism. For even as he was mak­ing the leap to the War­riors, Du­rant was also lay­ing the foun­da­tion for a pro­found shift in his busi­ness deal­ings. In­stead of just grab­bing the low-hang­ing fruit of en­dorse­ment deals (which are par­tic­u­larly easy to grasp when you’re an NBA su­per­star with a 7-foot 5-inch wing­span), for the past year he’s been us­ing his new perch in Sil­i­con Val­ley to line up a dif­fer­ent set of part­ners: an­gel in­vestors, en­ter­prise tech CEOS, drone mak­ers, and app devel­op­ers, along with pint-size Youtube cre­ators.

Du­rant’s nascent busi­ness em­pire now in­cludes Thirty Five Me­dia and a hefty in­vest­ment port­fo­lio that he and Kleiman run un­der the aus­pices of the two-year-old Du­rant Com­pany. That makes him part of a grow­ing co­hort of ath­letes who are look­ing to tech to ex­pand their busi­ness hold­ings. It also sig­nals a per­sonal trans­for­ma­tion for Du­rant, as he evolves from a fairly straight­for­ward NBA star—one known as either the “nicest guy in the NBA” or a soft “cup­cake,” in the par­lance of scorned Ok­la­homa City fans—into a tenacious player-en­tre­pre­neur who is wield­ing his out­size salary and fame in sur­pris­ing ways. And that means, for some­one so ac­cus­tomed to win­ning, learn­ing to com­pete in en­tirely new realms. Had you asked Du­rant a decade ago whether one day he’d be a bud­ding en­tre-

preneur—namechecked in Techcrunch and crowned “Sil­i­con Val­ley’s hottest start-up” in the pages of The New York Times—he would have laughed.

“Truth is, I didn’t think about in­vest­ing my money,” Du­rant says one af­ter­noon this sum­mer. “I just wanted to stack it. Like, put away enough for my grand­kids and fam­ily. That was enough.” We’re sit­ting in the back­yard of the home he’s rent­ing in Bev­erly Hills, a glass-walled struc­ture that looms over L.A., the spires of down­town pok­ing like nee­dles through a quilt of smog. Nearby, Kleiman and an­other buddy are play­ing a $1,000 game of Horse. “Ew!” Du­rant shouts as a brick shot re­bounds into the wrap­around pool. “Also, that’s my work­out ball!” He col­lects him­self, and goes on: “My fo­cus was the court, you know?”

Du­rant’s ca­reer is the stuff of leg­end: The young and awk­ward prodigy, the son of a postal-worker mom from a poor part of Prince Ge­orge’s County, on the out­skirts of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., leaves home in 2006 for the Univer­sity of Texas at Austin, and a year later is scooped up sec­ond over­all in the 2007 draft. Nike signs him to a $60 mil­lion en­dorse­ment deal, with an ex­tra­or­di­nary $10 mil­lion bonus; he’s promptly named NBA Rookie of the Year.

And yet the hype that sud­denly sur­rounds him doesn’t in­tim­i­date him. It some­how, im­prob­a­bly, makes him bet­ter. It seems to drive him: to Olympic gold medals, to al­ls­tar games, to an ap­pear­ance in the Fi­nals with the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der. Ver­sa­tile, dy­namic, and un­flag­gingly com­pet­i­tive, he reg­u­larly puts up 35 points a game. Soon, the kid whose sin­gle mother some­times strug­gled to feed her fam­ily has an es­ti­mated net worth of ap­prox­i­mately $200 mil­lion.

Du­rant’s in­ter­est in busi­ness be­gan around 2013, the year he parted ways with his agent and signed with Kleiman at Jay-z’s Roc Na­tion Sports. Du­rant and Kleiman came from rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent back­grounds: Kleiman, a na­tive of Man­hat­tan, got his start in the mu­sic in­dus­try, man­ag­ing acts such as Mark Ron­son. Just 35 when he and Du­rant started work­ing to­gether, Kleiman was vol­u­ble and glee­fully pro­fane—an Ari Emanuel on the make. Du­rant liked him im­me­di­ately, and he paid at­ten­tion when Kleiman ad­vised him to be more proac­tive with his wealth.

“I started to read, to re­ally read, about all these suc­cess­ful men who hadn’t played bas­ket­ball,” Du­rant re­mem­bers. He de­voured books on Jeff Be­zos and Steve Jobs—“i went all the way back to [Nikola] Tesla and [Cor­nelius] Van­der­bilt,” the turn-of-the­cen­tury ship­ping mag­nate. The men were am­bi­tious, and they pushed the bound­aries of what their peers thought was pos­si­ble.

Per­haps it’s not sur­pris­ing that his first in­vest­ments with Kleiman were in tech rather than real es­tate, or a tra­di­tional realm like car washes or deal­er­ships. It all started in 2014 when Kleiman was in New York and got a crav­ing for Mr. Chow, the Mid­town Man­hat­tan Chi­nese eatery. But the restau­rant re­fused to de­liver; nor would it ac­cept Kleiman’s of­fer to send over an Uber. In­stead it sug­gested he down­load Post­mates. The app would lo­cate a bike courier to get the food and bring it to his apart­ment.

Kleiman told Du­rant, who was in­trigued. On Du­rant’s next trip to the Bay Area, he and Kleiman hap­pened to drive by the Post­mates of­fices; Du­rant sug­gested they cold-call the founder. They sched­uled a meet­ing, and not long af­ter, Du­rant com­mit­ted an in­vest­ment in the high six fig­ures to a 2015 $80 mil­lion se­ries D fund­ing round, join­ing the likes of Tiger Global Man­age­ment and noted VC firms Slow Ven­tures and Spark Cap­i­tal. That was fol­lowed by fund­ing for the mi­cro-in­vest­ing app Acorns and The Play­ers’ Tribune, Derek Jeter’s pub­lish­ing plat­form for ath­letes.

“With a lot of celebrity in­vestors, the ex­tent of our in­ter­ac­tions is, ‘Hey, do you want to come to this movie pre­miere?’ ” Post­mates CEO Bas­tian Lehmann tells me. “And that’s fun, but Kevin wants more: He wants to un­der­stand the busi­ness; he’s got ideas.” Lehmann says he scrapped plans to re­design the logo af­ter dis­cussing it over din­ner with Du­rant.

When Du­rant an­nounced he was sign­ing with the War­riors in July of last year, ev­ery­one seized on the idea that he wanted the most di­rect path to a cham­pi­onship ring. The su­per­star team had nar­rowly lost in the 2016 Fi­nals and was widely ex­pected to make the cham­pi­onship again. As Du­rant wrote on The Play­ers’ Tribune, the War­riors rep­re­sented “the great­est po­ten­tial for my con­tri­bu­tion and per­sonal growth.” Yet there was no deny­ing the team’s prox­im­ity to the tech world. “That’s not why you’d make the de­ci­sion,” Kleiman says, “but it is an in­cred­i­ble bonus.”

In Septem­ber of last year, the leg­endary

in­vestor and phi­lan­thropist Ron Con­way trav­eled to Ather­ton, Cal­i­for­nia, for a party at the home of his friends Ben and Feli­cia Horowitz. A co­founder of the ven­ture-cap­i­tal firm An­dreessen Horowitz, Ben is a War­riors sea­son-ticket holder and die-hard fan—the oc­ca­sion for the party was Du­rant’s 28th birth­day. Du­rant and the other play­ers were late show­ing up, and Con­way—fa­mously an early backer of Google and Paypal—soon found him­self locked in con­ver­sa­tion with a bald, green-eyed man in his late thir­ties. “He was lit­er­ally the only other per­son I had to talk to,” Con­way re­calls of Kleiman.

When Kleiman men­tioned that he rep­re­sented Du­rant, and that Du­rant was ea­ger to ex­pand his port­fo­lio of in­vest­ments, Con­way sug­gested that the three of them get to­gether for din­ner. A few weeks later, they were sit­ting around a ta­ble in Con­way’s liv­ing room. For more than two hours, the trio dis­cussed the VC world and Du­rant’s char­ity, which helps build bas­ket­ball courts for dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren around the world. “I could tell he truly wanted to give back,” Con­way says. He agreed to help ad­vise Du­rant on other phil­an­thropic projects, later con­nect­ing him with Col­lege Track, a non­profit co­founded by Lau­rene Pow­ell Jobs. Through the col­lege prepara­tory pro­gram, Jobs will be Du­rant’s part­ner on a mas­sive new youth cen­ter to be built later this year in D.C.

Con­way also of­fered to share with Du­rant a list of his re­cent in­vest­ments. “I was blown away,” he says, “be­cause [Du­rant] knew about half the com­pa­nies with­out me iden­ti­fy­ing them. He knew the names, he knew what they did.” Du­rant has since in­vested in sev­eral of the star­tups on Con­way’s list, in­clud­ing the bot-based polling com­pany Polly.

Du­rant isn’t short on re­sources in the Bay Area: Along with Con­way, Du­rant speaks reg­u­larly to Ben Horowitz, and he plays cards with Chamath Pal­i­hapi­tiya, a co-owner of the War­riors who leads the multi­bil­lion-dol­lar VC firm So­cial Cap­i­tal. And he re­lies on the coun­sel of two other War­riors: Stephen Curry, who co­founded Slyce, a pub­lish­ing app for ath­letes, and An­dre Iguo­dala, who cre­ated the an­nual

Play­ers Tech­nol­ogy Sum­mit. “They know ex­actly what to do with their money,” Du­rant says, “and we bounce ideas off each other.”

He has also ben­e­fited from the ex­am­ples of other NBA stars. Carmelo An­thony and Kobe Bryant have both launched ven­ture­cap­i­tal firms to power their tech in­vest­ments; Lebron James has inked con­tent deals with ma­jor net­works, such as HBO. “In the past, un­for­tu­nately, some ath­letes never gave much thought to what would hap­pen when their ca­reers ended,” says Carl Chang, the CEO of a pri­vate-eq­uity fund and brother of for­mer ten­nis pro Michael Chang. “To­day, they’ve be­come much more so­phis­ti­cated in terms of fore­sight and prepa­ra­tions.”

Du­rant has de­vel­oped his own in­ter­nal for­mula for de­ter­min­ing his in­vest­ments. “As a kid, he was al­ways watch­ing who was com­ing up be­hind him,” says Kleiman, who started work­ing with Du­rant full time two years ago, “and he looks for that now in cre­ators: He wants them to be as para­noid as he was.” Not long ago, Du­rant asked the founders of an au­ton­o­mous drone startup, Sky­dio, to give him a demo at his place in Oak­land. Du­rant reached over to touch the drone, and one of the founders “jumped 10 feet in the air,” Kleiman re­calls. “And Kevin loved that: that pro­pri­etary in­stinct.” (Adam Bry, the CEO of Sky­dio, re­ports that Du­rant “got the tech­nol­ogy right away. In fact, I’d ar­gue that he prob­a­bly un­der­stood it bet­ter than a lot of other pro­fes­sional tech peo­ple.”) Du­rant has since signed on as an in­vestor.

He’s also guided by an in­stinct for longterm bets. “Kevin is such an in­quis­i­tive, cere­bral per­son,” says So­cial Cap­i­tal’s Pal­i­hapi­tiya. “He makes sure he un­der­stands ex­actly how things work—what res­onates and what doesn’t.” To Pal­i­hapi­tiya, the de­ci­sion to part­ner with Youtube, over plat­forms such as Snapchat or Twit­ter, was proof: “Youtube has a much larger global reach. It gives him more of an op­por­tu­nity to grow his brand.”

Over break­fast one morn­ing at the Bev­erly Hills Ho­tel, where he stays while in L.A., Kleiman opens up his iphone to a note file out­lin­ing Du­rant’s in­vest­ments. There are some 30 in all, rang­ing in scale from $50,000 to $2 mil­lion. Not all in­volve tech: Du­rant has taken a stake in a water­melon wa­ter com­pany; the up­scale Man­hat­tan restau­rant the Grill; and in Pieol­ogy, a chain of pizza joints headed by Carl Chang. “It’s an in­cred­i­bly promis­ing start,” Kleiman says, and men­tions that he and Du­rant have been bat­ting around the idea of putting to­gether their own VC firm.

Of course, tech in­vest­ing is a no­to­ri­ously tricky game: Even the wil­i­est, most sea­soned VCS lose money on their in­vest­ments. “With ven­ture cap­i­tal,” says David Abru­tyn, a part­ner at Bruin Sports Cap­i­tal, an in­vest­ment firm, “you’ve got to go in with an open mind. You’ve got to un­der­stand that if you make 10 in­vest­ments, two might hit.” Du­rant, who dom­i­nates the court in al­most ev­ery game he plays, hasn’t had much ex­pe­ri­ence with that kind of loss ra­tio.

“It’s a risk,” Du­rant al­lows. “But it’s a cal­cu­lated risk.”

As I drive through Hol­ly­wood with Du­rant and Kleiman one af­ter­noon, the

news breaks of a block­buster deal that will send Cleve­land Cava­liers star Kyrie Irv­ing to the Celtics, in ex­change for a 2018 draft pick and Isa­iah Thomas, a player beloved by Bos­ton fans for lead­ing his team, im­prob­a­bly, to the 2017 Con­fer­ence Fi­nals. Nei­ther Du­rant nor Kleiman had an inkling the trans­ac­tion was in the works, and for a few min­utes, they con­verse, in grow­ing tones of in­credulity, about what it means for the bal­ance of power in the NBA.

Fi­nally, Kleiman turns in my di­rec­tion. As a Bos­ton fan, am I up­set? I have no right to be, he goes on, adding an ex­ple­tive for em­pha­sis. “It’s a busi­ness, you know?”

Du­rant, who has joked that he’s been branded a snake so many times since leav­ing the Thun­der that he “might just tat­too one of those things on my arms,” quickly agrees: “Ain’t no loy­alty in this shit,” he says.

This was the Kevin Du­rant I see on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions dur­ing our time to­gether: a stu­dent of busi­ness re­al­i­ties and a player un­sen­ti­men­tal about his sport and his place in it. A player, in other words, will­ing to clap back at his for­mer Ok­la­homa City fans by re­leas­ing, in Septem­ber, a limited edi­tion of his Nike KDX, their in­soles em­bla­zoned with in­sults that have been hurled his way (“fol­lower,” “soft,” “snake”). Scrawled on top are his stats from the 2017 Fi­nals and the words “Fi­nals Most Valu­able Player.”

A half hour later, we ar­rive back at Du­rant’s rental. The house is thrum­ming with ac­tiv­ity: In the kitchen, Du­rant’s per­sonal chef is pre­par­ing din­ner, and in the liv­ing room, his stylist is ar­rang­ing po­ten­tial out­fits for an up­com­ing photo shoot. Du­rant pulls out a black hoodie and nods ap­pre­cia­tively. Kleiman’s phone rings: It’s Du­rant’s nu­tri­tion­ist, call­ing to re­view a list of sug­gested vi­ta­min sup­ple­ments. “What time is train­ing?” Du­rant asks. “You’ve got a few min­utes,” Kleiman says, check­ing his watch.

It is dif­fi­cult to over­state the im­por­tance of the up­com­ing bas­ket­ball sea­son for Du­rant. As Erik Mali­nowski, the au­thor of Beta­ball, a new book about the War­riors, puts it, if 2016–17 was about Du­rant “evolv­ing as a player and a team­mate,” the up­com­ing sea­son will be about car­ry­ing for­ward a legacy, and prov­ing that he de­serves the fame that has fol­lowed him for the bet­ter part of a decade. The pres­sure will be in­tense.

At the same time, Du­rant’s busi­ness com­mit­ments are ratch­et­ing up. A few days af­ter I leave L.A., he is slated to travel to Las Ve­gas to ap­pear at a tech con­fer­ence with the founders of Rubrik, a cloud-based data man­age­ment plat­form that he re­cently in­vested in. He is also plan­ning a few meet­ings with the mar­ket­ing team at Alaska Air­lines, which has tapped Du­rant to help build out its pres­ence at its big new San Fran­cisco hub, gained through its Vir­gin Amer­ica ac­qui­si­tion. Du­rant is tak­ing eq­uity in the com­pany, and Alaska will part­ner with Thirty Five Me­dia on con­tent for his Youtube chan­nel.

Du­rant is well aware that in 2017, he is by no means the only bas­ket­ball player with a side hus­tle, what with An­thony, Bryant, and James tend­ing to their tech and me­dia fief­doms. But he bris­tles at com­par­isons.

“Come on, they’re all com­pet­i­tive. That’s their job!” Kleiman ex­claims when I ask about it. He is com­pet­i­tive, too: “Some­times I’ll be like, ‘Yo, Kobe just did this,’ or ‘Carmelo got in on that.’ Or I’ll hear that Mav­er­ick Carter”—lebron’s busi­ness part­ner— “had din­ner with X, and I’ll go, ‘Shit, that means I’ve got to go have din­ner with those moth­er­fuck­ers too.’ ”

Du­rant stands up: He wants to go down­stairs and try on some clothes for the shoot. “I’d call it a healthy com­pe­ti­tion,” he says be­fore de­scend­ing. He smiles, then adds, “It’s not ma­li­cious.”

Du­rant has joked that he’s been branded a snake so many times since leav­ing the Thun­der that he “might just tat­too one of those things on my arms.”

Du­rant and his man­ager, Rich Kleiman, above, have in­vested in dozens of com­pa­nies to­gether.

Rid­ing high

Du­rant’s char­ity arm builds bas­ket­ball courts in un­der­priv­i­leged neigh­bor­hoods, in­clud­ing New York City’s Lower East

Side, above.

Left: Af­ter fac­ing crit­i­cism for his de­ci­sion, last year, to leave Ok­la­homa City for the Golden State War­riors, Du­rant ended the sea­son as the Fi­nals MVP.

Be­low: Af­ter putting money into the de­liv­ery app Post­mates, Du­rant spent a day in New York City in 2016 couri­er­ing pack­ages for the ser­vice.

Tech stars

Big pic­ture

Kevin Du­rant’s

doc­u­men­tary, pro­duced by Nike and re­leased on his own Youtube chan­nel, ex­plores his de­ci­sion to join the War­riors.

Heat­ing up

In a re­cent in­ter­view with Sean Evans of the Youtube show Hot Ones, Du­rant wolfed down hot-sauce-laden chicken wings. The clip has been viewed more than 2 mil­lion times.

A for­mer mu­sic man­ager for Jay-z’s Roc Na­tion, Kleiman over­sees Du­rant’s grow­ing in­vest­ment arm.

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