In his monologue Manning praised the United States women’s gymnastics team that brought home gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. All was well, then he began a roast:
“Our gymnastics team was so dominant that Kevin Durant told me he wants to play for them next year,” Manning said.
Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder last season to join the Golden State Warriors. He received a lot of criticism over the decision to join a rival stocked with elite players, and was accused of chasing championships. Durant’s move to the Warriors worked, of course, when he won the NBA title and became the most valuable player of the Finals last month. However, the public and Manning haven’t forgotten about his shortcut to success.
Laughter erupted from the crowd while the camera was still on Manning. Once the camera switched to a close-up of Durant himself, viewers found out that he was not feeling the joke at all. The same can’t be said for his mother, who could be seen laughing along with everyone else.
The joke did not end there. It turned out Manning can still throw touchdowns post retirement.
Even after seeing Durant’s reaction, Manning went on to say: “And I’ve got to tell you: I don’t think you’d start for that team, Kevin.” The best was yet to come. Manning went in for the kill when he turned his attention to Durant’s former Thunder teammate: “Russell Westbrook, what do you think?”
Westbrook, likewise, didn’t laugh.
It’s unclear if the two were in on it since their reactions were very similar. Thursday morning, ESPN’s Chris Haynes revealed that Durant may have known the joke was coming.
For those interested, I'm told Kevin Durant was in on the Peyton Manning gymanistic team roast at #ESPYS2017. KD played his part well.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 13, 2017
Whether he knew about it or not, Twitter is having a field day over his reaction.
Peyton Manning got Kevin Durant ready to fight. pic.twitter.com/RGlxNS2H3s
— Cycle (@bycycle) July 13, 2017
Kevin Durant favorite girl scout cookies pic.twitter.com/G8MefBUx5u
— Great Value Rick Ross (@EssDotBetts) July 13, 2017
— Legends (@LegendsofCH) July 13, 2017
I guess Kevin Durant left his sense of humor in Oklahoma City… #ESPYS
— Anthony DiBernardo (@antnydibernardo) July 13, 2017
Durant can now add “meme king” to his long list of accomplishments.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) July 13, 2017
Stay mad, Kevin.