There’s a myth about the world’s greatest scorer — a shooter so accurate, he’s known online as @easymoneysniper — and we can shatter it right here from Phoenix.
Kevin Durant isn’t some jerk who only uses his social-media accounts to argue with analysts and beef with bloggers.
Just ask 25-year-old Phoenix fan Jordan Pruneau or his 23-year-old brother Justin, a Suns ball boy.
“It’s crazy,” Justin Pruneau said of the bond between his older brother and Durant.
“It actually started when (Durant) was back in OKC. My brother, he’s like the biggest KD fan out there. … The first time they ever met, Kevin was so nice to Jordan. It was pretty incredible to watch.”
These brief connections have been happening ever since and are documented by @JordanPruneau on Instagram and @jpruneau10 on Twitter.
“It’s really cool to see someone of that stature take the time out of their day to talk to my brother, and it literally makes his day every time it happens.”
Durant, who wasn’t available for comment on this story, was in the news recently after a back-and-forth with a Fox Sports analyst. It was the latest in a series of social-media spats that included telling a teenage fan in 2018, “you GOTS to be trippin if I’m not gonna chime in every here and there.”
But, for the Pruneau family, that’s only a small piece of who Durant is.
‘Whatever that movie was’
Jordan Pruneau became a Durant fan from watching movies.
“Jordan, having Down syndrome, is very regimented in his routine,” his father, Scott Pruneau, said.
“He’ll watch movies and shows over and over and over again. He memorizes ’em, and he’ll still watch ’em.”
One of his favorites was a 2012 Hollywood flop called “Thunderstruck,” which starred Kevin Durant.
“Whatever that movie was, that’s what (Jordan) started watching,” Scott said.
“He loved Kevin Durant.”
Scott Pruneau is a former Golden State Warriors scouting director. He left the role in 2011 and now works in the golf industry, though he sometimes scouts opponents for the Spurs.
He used his NBA connections to introduce Durant and his oldest son, which he’s been doing all along.
“Let’s see, probably 2 weeks old, (Jordan) was in the Warrior locker room being held by Chris Mullin and Chris Webber and people like that. He grew up going to the games and one of his favorite things to do since he was really little was to go on to the court after the games and play and shoot with the other players’ kids and coaches’ kids,” Scott said.
There was something special about Durant, though.
“Kevin spent the time to not only talk to him, but to also understand him,” Scott said.
Jordan Pruneau has a 9-to-5 job, working for a company that makes dog treats, and he plays basketball and other sports through the Special Olympics. But he has speech problems that make it hard to communicate with strangers.
“Jordan was nervous and trying to take a selfie with his own camera, and Kevin said, ‘Here, lemme do that.’ And he took the selfie with his arm stretched out,” Scott Pruneau said.
‘Who likes to be criticized?’
It’s not the Durant we typically see. He’s gone viral for arguing with fans and opponents and even operating a “burner” account to anonymously defend himself under an assumed name.
But Scott Pruneau is empathetic to what it must feel like to be the reigning, two-time NBA Finals MVP.
“Who likes to be criticized?” Pruneau asked. “Especially publicly.”
“It’s just really easy to criticize somebody either from the phone or behind a computer. So, like, Russell Westbrook said to the people in Utah, ‘You wouldn’t say that to my face, if I’m on the street.’ … What gives you the right to say that stuff to someone from behind a keyboard or behind a phone or however you’re doing your social media?”
Durant follows Jordan on Instagram and the Pruneaus try to connect whenever he comes to Phoenix. They also reach out when they road trip up to Warriors playoff games.
It didn’t work out this season.
They went to Game 5 against the Rockets and saw Durant leave the court limping.
“We didn’t really get to see him after or anything,” Justin said.
Justin and Jordan wished Durant a speedy recovery in an Instagram post, which Durant saw and liked.
Durant might miss the rest of the season with the calf strain he suffered. And speculation has been running rampant that Durant would leave Golden State as a free agent this summer.
Whatever happens, the Pruneaus are rooting for him — even if Jordan might like one outcome, in particular.
“If he comes here, that would make Jordan very happy,” Justin said.
“Jordan should be in the sales pitch. He might be able to close it down for them.”