Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving shocked the basketball world last summer. While the pair joining forces to go to New York was reported for some time prior to the announcement at the start of free agency, the assumption was that they’d head to Manhattan and suit up for the Knicks. Instead, they opted to head to Brooklyn and become members of the Nets.
While the pair have yet to suit up with one another — Durant missed all year rehabbing the ACL tear he suffered in his final game as a member of the Golden State Warriors — there’s a whole lot of anticipation for when they eventually take the floor. Before we get to that point, there’s a question Durant wanted to answer during a cameo on J.J. Redick’s podcast: Why Brooklyn?
As Durant explained, the decision stemmed from the fact that while he wanted to go to New York City, he thought there was something special about Brooklyn that matched up with what he valued. And besides, the way he tells it, he never planned on going to the Knicks, anyway.
No, I never planned on it — going to the Knicks. That was just the media putting that out there, especially when I decided to take that — I didn’t sign that three-year deal that previous summer. So once I signed that 1+1, the noise got louder about me going to the Knicks for some reason. The Knicks needed a savior and you know how that goes, every time there’s a big free agent, ‘the Knicks are going to get him.’ So it just took off, and then once the media infiltrated our locker room with that Draymond situation, they ran with the rumors even more. It just got so loud every single day, and I mean, players hear it and they go on HoopsHype every day and see rumors, they start to believe it. I think the media just hyped it up and wanted to create drama around our team so much and around me that they made up this Knicks thing.
So around February, as I was thinking, I didn’t want to be the savior of the Knicks or New York. I didn’t care about being the King of New York, that never really moved me. I didn’t care about being on Broadway or that sh*t, I just wanted to go ball, go to the crib, and chill. So I felt like that’s what Brooklyn embodied, and I wanted to live in New York. So I felt like Brooklyn was what I’m all about: chill, on the low, all black everything. We quiet, just focused on basketball. There’s no show when you come to our games. No Madison Square Mecca, all of that sh*t. We just gonna hoop and build something new in Brooklyn. I felt that way in February, leading up to March and then once free agency hit it was time.
It is interesting to hear Durant say that he never wanted to go to the Knicks, because there was a ton of smoke connecting him to them for months. Still, it’s evident there was something about going to Brooklyn that really appeared to Durant, and as a result, he’ll ply his trade at Barclays Center for the next few years.