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Oneil Cruz Receives Gift From NBA Superstar



Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates

When discussing their sporting careers, many high-level athletes speak of “making it”: the moment they received a collegiate offer, heard their name called in the draft, signed their first professional contract or played in their first game. Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz could add another distinction to that sort of list: recognition from Phoenix Suns’ forward Kevin Durant, one of the greatest athletes on the planet through the course of his career.

Fans and fellow players alike have compared the two lanky athletes: Durant stands 6-foot-11 and 240 pounds, while Cruz clocks in at 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds. It seems that Cruz’s counterpart on the court—famed for his savvy use of social media—took notice.

Per Pirates Director of Communications Patrick Kurish, who posted a picture of the exchange to X, formerly known as Twitter, Durant sent Cruz a signed basketball ahead of Pittsburgh’s Opening Day matchup with the Miami Marlins.

It’s always fun to see athletes interacting with one another away from their playing surfaces, no matter if they play on different teams or even play different sports. In the interest of Pirates fans, though, it would be best if the comparisons between Oneil Cruz and Kevin Durant don’t go too far.

Sure, Durant has a league MVP award, two NBA Finals Trophies and Finals MVP awards to go along with them, not to mention 14 All-Star selections and six sports on the First-Team All NBA list… but he also had to leave the team that drafted him to win those championships, signing a free agent contract with a hated rival instead.

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