By Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel –
OKLAHOMA CITY — The assumption, amid all the pre-game fist bumps and all those off-season 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, but he said during a Finals media session that he also has been somewhat in the dark during his career about an NBA star with even more enduring success: Tim Duncan.
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.
“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 that, to a degree, he appreciates Durant’s 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 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.”
When it comes to his own family, Wade will be particularly forthright with the release of his book, “How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball,” which has a Sept. 4 publication date.
In the book, according to a news release issued this week, Wade will offer “insights on his life both on and off the court, with a large focus on fatherhood.” Included, according to the release, will be a section on “the prolonged battle with his ex-wife for sole custody of his two sons” as well as “a gut-wrenching story of young Dwyane finding a dead body in a garbage can.”