Kevin Durant doesn’t care what people think of him at this point. By now—at the end of his first full season as NBA villain—that much is abundantly clear.
The Golden State Warriors star sat down with USA Today for an interview where Durant reassured everyone he’s doing fine despite all of Oklahoma City despising him for jumping ship to Oakland last summer.
“I’m just at peace with myself,” Durant said in the piece. “I’m at peace with myself as a basketball player, most importantly.”
“I think this move, and the criticism that comes with this move, has made me zero in on what’s the most important thing, and that’s just playing basketball, working out every day, getting better, enjoying every single day as a basketball player. It made me really appreciate that. It made me go back to that. When you listen to the nonsense, then you start to really let it take control of your thoughts, that’s (not good), you know what I’m saying? So I just got back to the game.”
It sounds like the noise and pressure of the decision fell away once he got into the rhythm of the season, which is good. Nearly a year after he made the decision, it seems like he’s finally not worried about it.
And that’s not to say Durant is just looking at this in a way to support his personal decision. He’s thought about what impact he could have had elsewhere.
“Like I’m the reason why (expletive) Orlando couldn’t make the playoffs for five, six years in a row?” he said. “Am I the reason that Brooklyn gave all their picks to Boston? Like, am I the reason that they’re not that good (laughs). I can’t play for every team, so the truth of the matter is I left one team. It’s one more team that you probably would’ve thought would’ve been a contender. One more team. I couldn’t have made the (entire) East better. I couldn’t have made everybody (else) in the West better.”
Kevin Durant is only one man, but he’s a smart guy. And he’s not the general manager of any of the other 28 teams not involved in his decision to leave Oklahoma City and move to Golden State. So he’s right in this regard: he’s just one part of a massive arms race that’s developed between a few elite teams in the NBA.
He just so happens that he’s the biggest of those pieces.