The 2017 NBA Finals may not have been an all-timer in terms of duration but there were plenty of highlights in the match-up between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. The most iconic image of the series, though, came from Kevin Durant when he knocked down a pull-up jumper in the face of LeBron James in Game 3 and, while it wasn’t the final shot of the series, it was the most impactful.
In advance of the Warriors’ season opener on Tuesday, Durant reflected on the memorable shot in speaking with Chris Haynes of ESPN and the reigning NBA Finals MVP indicated that it was no fluke that he was able to convert from that particular spot.
It just came with a little practice.
“That shot was always one of the toughest shots for me, especially from that angle. I struggled with it. Your feet have to be placed a certain way, you have to be locked in. I would spend countless hours in the gym working on that shot to precision. When you truly love something, you want to be better at it. That’s a shot I’m comfortable with now.”
It may seem wild that Durant would struggle with any particular shot, as he is one of the most accomplished and diverse scorers in NBA history. Still, it is clear that he put quite a bit of time into the shot that required him to fire after running full speed toward the rim and his jumper in Game 3 was the picture of brilliance in that regard.
Durant went on to say that “even if (he) hit that shot over Gladys Knight,” he’d have been just as excited but, in order to reach the point where he was comfortable enough to let it fly with the league’s best player in his face, there were “countless hours” of work on the front end.