Evidently, Kevin Durant has accepted LeBron James’ challenge to a flag football game. It was on Twitter, so it must be true:
On Day 123 of the NBA lockout, Durant was at bored at his OKC home on Halloween night and asked via Twitter if anyone locally was playing flag football. What transpired was one of the coolest impromptu events ever to hit Stillwater.
OKC Thunder coach Scott Brooks and general manager Sam Presti no doubt cringe at the thought of their franchise player (due to start a five-year extension whenever next season starts) challenging the 6-foot-8, 260-poundish James on a football field. Doing so on a basketball court is crazy enough. The dude could start next Sunday for the Cleveland Browns … um, the Miami Dolphins.
Durant claims he has his flag football team ready to go. Thunder players organized four-day workout sessions this summer in Austin, Texas, and Lexington, Ky., so it’s not outlandish to think they would gladly huddle up as a flag football team to pass the time.
Here is a breakdown of the OKC Thunder flag football roster, with positions:
Kevin Durant — WR/FS: With Durant’s 7-foot-5 wingspan, every pass attempt should be a fade route, even from the Thunder’s own 10-yard line. If there’s a jump ball, offensively or defensively, it’s his. Boring, but effective.
Russell Westbrook — QB/CB: Best athlete on the field, including LeBron. A Michael Vick type. (Did you know Westbrook writes left-handed?) No matter how many completions he has, national media will complain Westbrook should have passed the ball more to Durant.
Kendrick Perkins — DL: Only non-platoon player on roster because of fragile knees. Ndamukong Suh’s attitude. Most penalized player in flag football.
Nick Collison FB/MLB: Instead of taking charges, Collison finally gets to knock some people down. He excels playing two physical positions. When you least expect it, Collison erupts (think Trey Millard 61-yard TD run vs. Kansas State).
Thabo Sefolosha WR/SS: A physical presence on both sides of the ball. Covers a lot of territory. Always helping out teammates. Good blocker. Outstanding receiver on underneath routes. Unsung player, but vitally important.
James Harden FL/OLB: Effective playmaker with the ability to take over a game. Streaky. Sneaky quick. And here’s some good news for him: he gets to start.
Serge Ibaka TE/DE: Remarkable athlete, but language barrier creates problems with on-field communication, which is why he plays the same position on both sides of the ball. He stands in the exact same spot going each direction.
Eric Maynor QB/CB: Westbrook’s backup at both positions. One of the most underappreciated backups in all of flag football. Rarely makes mistakes. Subtle in his effectiveness. A valuable commodity.
Nazr Mohammed TE/DL: Pretty much keeps his hands raised throughout the entire game, kind of like “Chief” in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Stands at the line of scrimmage, to either catch a pass or knock one down.
Daequan Cook WR/BANDIT: A specialist on both sides of the ball, as a receiver and as a fifth defensive back. Either way, he’s going deep. Restricted free agent, but hopes to have contract signed before coin toss.
Cole Aldrich C/NT: Just like in basketball, Aldrich is asked to have a presence in the middle. Is permitted three developmental assignments in the Canadian Flag Football League, which is handy because he can visit his parents in Minnesota.
Byron Mullens C/NT: Just like in basketball, is battling for the exact same positions(s) as Aldrich. Also is allowed three CFFL assignments. Mullens is better offensively than defensively, and vice versa for Aldrich.
Nate Robinson RB/CB/KR: An explosive weapon, when he’s focused. Played cornerback for one season at University of Washington before concentrating on basketball. Potential hero or goat and a crowd favorite.
Are you ready for some (flag) football?