Jayden Moore said he was jumping up and down with other members of his basketball team at Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minnesota, on Monday, but it had nothing to do with an alley-oop, a buzzer beater or a thrilling comeback.
During a break at practice, they learned Kevin Durant had retweeted a video of Moore attempting a flashy move on the basketball court. Kevin freaking Durant!
Only upon closer inspection, they discovered Durant, the 11-time NBA All-Star, tweeted about the move, “This (expletive) stinks.”
As of Tuesday night, Durant’s tweet had been liked more than 176,000 times and retweeted more than 18,000 times.
Moore, a 13-year-old point guard, said he was hurt and confused by Durant’s comment.
“Like, what made him take time out of his day to say something negative instead of encouraging me or telling what really needs to be done and then texting me privately or something like that,” Moore said.
Moore’s mother, Valeta, has told her son not to take it all personally, but also added, “I was going to (tweet), ‘Why’s KD being so mean? It’s the week of Christmas.’ “
After Durant sounded off, two other NBA players chimed in about the move, during which Moore dribbles between his legs, wraps the ball around his back, spins and launches a 3-pointer that bounces off the back of the rim.
Isaiah Thomas, a two-time All-Star currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, tweeted, “horrible basketball!!! Smh.” And Austin Daye, who won an NBA championship ring in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs, tweeted, “This is just Bad Hoops Period.”
SPORTS NEWSLETTER: Sign up now, and never miss a moment
Ken Novak, the head coach at Hopkins, said he was amazed to learn Moore’s move had become the target of three NBA players.
“There’s almost an immaturity with them to take the time to even go on Twitter and look at that (video) and comment,” Novak told USA TODAY Sports. “In fairness to them, I’m sure they’re trying to create what they see as better basketball, people sharing. And maybe they’re making a comment trying to say that. But they just got to realize who they’re saying it to.”
Moore is an eighth grader.
Enjoys playing video games like Madden and NBA 2K.
Plays fantasy football in a league with his father.
And he was in the sixth grade when the video was taken by his father at a winter tournament game.
Moore said he saw the flashy move on Instagram, and, with his father’s approval, tried it in a game with less than a minute to play and his team up by more than 50 points.
Moore’s father, PJ, said he bet his son $10 that he couldn’t pull off the move without getting called for traveling. During the video, you can hear the voice of Paul Moore.
“It’s a travel.”
The referees did not blow a whistle, and so Paul Moore forked over $10 to his son, who posted the video on his Instagram page.
On Sunday, Moore said, someone from Overtime.tv followed him and “liked” the video. Twenty minutes later, the video was posted online, according to Moore, who said he initially was excited.
That all changed the next day, when Durant retweeted the video with his criticism.
On Tuesday night, Moore played his first game since the Twitter controversy. He scored 12 points in his team’s 71-54 victory over Tartan High School.
“He is very good kid,” said Novak, Hopkins’ coach. “He’s a pass-first guy. He’s not a score-first person. What he’s very good at is his vision.
“Does he love to have flash to him? Yeah, so did I. I just wasn’t as good. Did I try the behind-the-back moves in the ’70s when no one else was doing them? Yeah. And I thought it was cool. But no one was critiquing me.”
After reflecting on the Twitter uproar, Moore’s mother said, the family adopted a more positive perspective. Durant was criticizing her son’s move, not her son, they concluded. The criticism was a chance for Jayden to toughen up. His face is obscured in the video, so he’s hard to identify.
And some people came to Moore’s defense. Although when Sreenivasan Jain, an accomplished Indian journalist wrote, “he’s just a kid, champ,” Durant replied, “It’s about habits man.”
With the advice of his parents, Moore decided to reach out to Durant directly, and so he replied on Twitter to KDTrey5, Durant’s handle.
“Thanks for the constructive criticism,” Moore wrote. “I’ve grown from my 6th grade year! Maybe we can work on some stuff together!! All love. Hopefully I can get to where you at one day!”
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort