Kevin Durant has never been known for being a peaceful presence on social media, but a contentious exchange with Michael Rapaport this week broke new ground for the Brooklyn Nets star.
Durant, who has been out since mid-February with a hamstring injury, apologised while speaking with reporters Thursday for the language in his Instagram direct messages.
FANTASY BASKETBALL: Players on the waiver-wire who shouldn't be
'EVERYBODY'S SHAKEN': NBA team plane in emergency landing
"I'm sorry that people seen that language I used," Durant said. "That's not really what I want people to see and hear from me, but hopefully I can move past it and get back out on the floor."
Nets coach Steve Nash also addressed the matter, saying the organisation had internal discussions about Durant's exchange, but declined to share specifics of the conversation according to ESPN's Malika Andrews.
The exchange in question began all the way back in December, when Rapaport, a longtime television actor currently attempting a second act as a professional sports opinion-haver, tweeted this:
The tweet was in reference to this interview, in which Durant spoke with TNT's "Inside the NBA" crew while looking down at the floor and giving brief answers.
Durant was apparently more talkative once he was back online. Rapaport shared screengrabs showing the Instagram DM exchange that ensued, with the actor claiming Durant had threatened him and brought his wife into the conversation.
The language used by Durant in the messages contains enough homophobic and misogynistic language to make a "Call of Duty" lobby blush.
Warning, the following screengrabs contain a breathtaking amount of profanity:
Durant responded to Rapaport's tweet with a brief apology, claiming the two regularly exchange even crazier messages.
The two-time NBA champion later repeated the claim and apologised again in an Instagram comment.
Rapaport continued to criticise Durant after the apologies, saying that while they had a brief professional relationship, they have never been friends and were not engaging in some kind of friendly banter, according to the Daily Mail.
He has also continued posting about Durant on Twitter, though it's unclear how serious he is taking the whole thing.
Kevin Durant apologises over abusive Twitter messages
The NBA hasn't weighed in yet on Durant's comments and whether he would be fined. Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said the team has discussed the remarks but would keep the conversation internal.
Durant is nearing a return from a left hamstring strain that has sidelined him since mid-February. He could be back sometime next week.
He and the Nets thought the injury was minor when he missed his first game on February 15 in Sacramento. But a subsequent exam showed it to be more serious.
"So, one of those things where I'm not feeling a ton of pain, but it's just like you don't want to force one of these injuries, go out there and make it worse," Durant said.
"In my mind I'm just like, 'I can play,' but then it's also like you've got to be smart and cautious with this type of injury. So just try to be patient with it all and just rehab as hard as I can, and I've been through this situation before so I just try to take myself back to that place."
Durant sat out the entire 2019-20 season, his first in Brooklyn, after rupturing his Achilles tendon playing for Golden State in the 2019 NBA finals.
He, Kyrie Irving and James Harden have been able to play just seven times together since the Nets acquired Harden in January, but the team has rolled to first place in the Eastern Conference while Durant sits.
"I was playing solid before I got injured and feel like we were just starting to figure each other out, James, Kyrie and myself, and different lineups out there on the floor," Durant said.
"I felt like we were starting to gain our rhythm and even though I was out a week before that with (health and safety) protocols, I felt like our team was gaining more chemistry then and that's more so what I care about. How I play, I'll figure that out over time whenever I get out there."
Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.