by Julian Spivey
The first thing I saw when I awoke on Monday, Sept. 27 when scrolling through my Twitter feed was a video from the Brooklyn Nets media day in which comedian/television legend David Letterman, posing as a journalist for the defunct Basketball Digest, asked NBA superstar Kevin Durant, recently ranked by ESPN as the best active player in the league, a serious of hilarious questions.
There were two things about this video, which only lasts about a minute-and-a-half, that I truly loved. The first is simply Letterman himself. The dude is one of my comedy heroes and his wacky, sarcastic sense of humor fits perfectly for a sports press conference setting. The second thing I really enjoyed is I couldn’t and still cannot tell (and haven’t seen anywhere to confirm) if Durant knew who Letterman was or what was going on (as hard as it is for me to imagine one not knowing Letterman). Durant, who can be overly-serious at times, seems to be a bit agitated by at least some of the non-sensical questions tossed at him by the comedy legend.
The two questions that truly cracked me up are when Letterman asked how Durant got the nickname “K.D.” and watching Durant answer it in all sincerity, while seeming slightly put off. The last question about whether “playing the Pelicans makes Durant giggle” is also terrific, as it elicits a bit of a giggle from Durant and Pelicans truly is one of the worst nicknames of any professional sports team and deserves some light mockery.
What I truly enjoyed most of the quick clip of Letterman attending the Nets media day is that he genuinely seems to be enjoying his retirement. It’s hard to believe, but it’s now been more than six years since he signed off as long-time host of the CBS late night talk show ‘Late Show.’ Though “retirement” may not be quite the proper word as he’s hosted multiple seasons of an interview series for Netflix called “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman,” which has received two Emmy nominations and I believe will have a fourth season.
Among other things Letterman has enjoyed seeing leaving his full-time television gig are co-owning his IndyCar Series team, which saw his driver Takuma Sato win the Indianapolis 500 in 2020, and spending quality time with his son, Harry.
Even though it was just a quick moment of humor at a usually docile pre-season sports media day the Letterman/Durant exchange truly reminded me how much I miss having Letterman’s sense of humor in my life. Letterman briefly stepping into the shoes of a sports journalist reminded me of some of his best and most outrageous late night bits, like when he took over the drive-thru window at a Taco Bell. It’s the kind of “man-on-the-street” humor that a quick-witted comedian just kills, and I really wish (though I suspect he has little to no interest in doing) that he would do something like this in a more regular and recorded output. Letterman making fun of serious things that shouldn’t be taken seriously is something I need more of in my life.