Golden State Warriors All-Star forward Kevin Durant didn't miss any of the fireworks his offseason decision last summer made in the world of social media. His move in free agency from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Warriors stirred up plenty of emotion from a variety of folks.
Yet as his Warriors sit one win from an NBA Finals berth, Durant says he has no regrets about his choice. If the Warriors can knock off the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 tonight (9 ET, ESPN), Durant will make his first Finals trip since 2012 with Oklahoma City. In an interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Durant opens up about his move to Golden State, that 2012 Finals run and more:
After a five-year hiatus, Durant is one win shy from returning to the NBA Finals with the Warriors. The Warriors can advance to their third straight Finals by defeating the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday night. And with all due respect to his nine successful seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise, the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player has no regrets about his decision to depart as a free agent to the Warriors last offseason, regardless of what the near future holds.
“I made the 100 percent correct decision, win or lose,” Durant told The Undefeated after the Warriors’ practice at AT&T Center in San Antonio on Sunday. “I feel like this is the place I was supposed to be. I appreciate everything I’ve done before this. But I’m here now, and I feel like it’s a great spot for me to be.
“This is where I am supposed to be at this point of my life. I’m taking it on and conquering every part of it. I’m enjoying every single step.”
Toward the end of Durant’s 19-point third quarter versus the Spurs in Game 3, The Durant Company manager Rich Kleiman tweeted what he believed was a needed reminder about Durant.
“Sometimes I think people forgot,” Kleiman said on his Twitter account @richkleiman.
So, what was Kleiman referring to?
“He hears the noise. He hears all of that stuff. He’s aware about what goes on in the Twittersphere, media and all that stuff,” Durant said. “I tried to tell him not to look at that. He watches [ESPN’s] First Take and all these shows. I try to tell him not to watch it, but he gets offended. He’s my brother. He gets offended when my name is not amongst the best players in the league or I don’t get the credit I deserve, I guess.
“He has my back. He always believes in my ability. Just like any other friend, he always has my back and he supports me 100 percent.”
But even with Finals success, Durant doesn’t think the pessimism will cease from his haters.
“They are always going to talk,” Durant said. “Nobody is ever going to be happy, no matter what you do. Definitely, I’ve got a lot of support out here. We get a lot of support. But someone is always going to discredit anything good that happens. That’s just life in general. Nobody is ever going to be 100 percent happy with everything.
“Somebody is always going to disagree. Somebody is always going to discredit. It’s just a part of life. When you want to do it for each other and for friends and family, that’s when it’s purer than anything.”
Will you be playing for the Warriors next season? (Durant has a one-year player option for next season with the Warriors paying $27.7 million.)
Yeah. I love it here. I love my teammates. I love the city [of Oakland]. I love the organization. I love it here. I don’t plan on going anywhere else.
What are your memories of the 2012 NBA Finals?
When we went as a team in 2012, I just felt like it was our time. We wanted that moment. We deserved that moment. It was just a special, special time.
What did you think about the criticism you have received on social media and from the sports media after deciding to depart the Thunder to rival power Golden State?
I was more so confused. You can say whatever you want about my decision or who you think I am. The only thing that matters is in between the lines. I respect the game. I work hard. I came in and respect my teammates. I respect just the competitiveness of the game of basketball. That’s in between the lines. I try to play the right way and handle myself the right way. I am just confused as to why that stuff doesn’t matter more than what happens on Twitter or whatever the topic of discussion is each day. I think it takes away from what is most important: that ball and that basket, everything in between the lines.
I don’t expect anyone who has never been there before to understand that. They have nothing else to talk about because they don’t really know what it is or what it feels like to be on the court in an NBA game. I don’t hold it against them. That’s why I am not mad.
I’m just more so confused that you can be an analyst or an expert, and I want to talk to the people who disrespect what goes on in between the lines. I respect a lot of people in [the media] business who really appreciate how hard it is to get to this point. So, I’m more so confused that [select media] doesn’t talk about the game of basketball more so than narratives and gossip around basketball. That’s what I’m more confused about.