Kevin Durant‘s had a busy summer. First, he made a somewhat controversial decision to drop out of the FIBA World Cup, citing physical and mental exhaustion. After that, Under Armour and Nike got into a bidding war for his services. Durant ultimately chose to stay with the swoosh. As he prepares for the start of a new season, Durant sat down with Esquire for an interview, and talked how about he’s developing a close friendship with Karl Malone.
You can watch and read the entire interview here. Specifically, Durant on Malone:
I’ve gotten close with Karl Malone, who’s called me numerous times when he can see on TV that I’m struggling, feeling bad after a loss. He can tell.
Even though Durant and Malone have completely different styles of play on the court, there’s a lot of advice Malone can dish out when it comes to dealing with the pressure of being a superstar in the league.
As one of the best power forwards of all time, Malone won the Most Valuable Player award twice but came up short in the NBA Finals three times, most famously losing to Michael Jordan and the Bulls in back-to-back seasons.
While Durant is not even close to running out of opportunities to win a title, he also has a Most Valuable Player award on his shelf and one Finals appearance in which he also lost to the best player in the league.
The career arcs of Durant and Malone are similar in this way, and you can imagine the two of them having the conversation about being the superstar who’s never won a championship — though KD has a long way to go before he falls under that category.
In the same interview, Durant also put his basketball career in perspective:
We tend to take our careers too seriously and let it take over us. But great teachers have a great balance of working extremely hard to be the best, but also realizing what’s the most important thing in life.
While that is a great approach to take, the pressure for Durant to win a title will only intensify as he approaches free agency in the summer of 2016.
The Thunder have been a great team in the regular season, but have come up short the last two postseasons in their bid to return to the Finals.
Durant has publicly stated that he’s tired of finishing second. But until he wins a title, that’s the only narrative he’ll hear.
What do you think?
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