Kevin Durant 'never envisioned' reaching 20,000 career points
From NBA media reports
* Tonight on ESPN: Clippers vs. Warriors (10:30 ET)
Kevin Durant’s 25-point effort a week ago against the Dallas Mavericks was no ordinary scoring effort for him. Instead, it put him 25 points away from 20,000 in his career — a total that Hall of Famers Bernard King, Scottie Pippen, Bob Lanier, John Stockton and other legends never tallied in their storied careers.
Durant has missed the Golden State Warriors’ last three games with a right calf strain, but the team says he is probable for tonight’s showdown with the LA Clippers. His likely return to the lineup has him thinking about his already stellar career, which includes a Kia MVP award, seven All-NBA selections, four scoring titles and, most recently, an NBA Finals MVP award.
Injury report for tomorrow's game vs. the Clippers: Kevin Durant (right calf strain), Draymond Green (right knee soreness) & Andre Iguodala (left knee & hip soreness) are probable.
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) January 10, 2018
Once Durant crosses that 20,000-point mark, he’ll join LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan as one of five players to do so before turning 30. He’ll also be the second-youngest player in league history — behind James — to reach 20,000 points. It’s all a lot for Durant to take in right now, writes Chris Haynes of ESPN.com:
“Man, that’s some great company, and there’s so many names I never thought I’d be in the same conversation with,” Durant said. “But to know — to have it in numbers, in black and white — to know that you belong in that group is pretty special to me. I’m telling you, man, it’s never been a goal of mine to count how many points I have. That’s not why I play the game. To be under 30 and do it, that’s special to me too. You play in this league for so long, and having an opportunity to do something like this at this age, you just can’t take it for granted, because there’s not too many players on that list.”
“I had one goal when I came into the league, and that was for me to win Rookie of the Year, and I just kept building after that,” he said. “My second year, I wanted to average 25. Every year I had a goal, but I never envisioned me with 20,000 points, 30,000 points. I was just taking it a day at a time, just trying to lock in, stay in the moment, and here I am.”
He said he hasn’t been in a hurry to rush past this moment. He has enjoyed reminiscing about all those battles on the court, all those one-on-one scoring duels and all the ups and downs that ultimately ushered him closer to his latest achievement.
“I reflect a lot to see where I’ve came from and see how much I’ve grown,” he said. “The players I’ve came across as teammates and as opponents that pushed me to be who I am, I think about that all the time. It’s good to reflect. I’ve had some amazing times as a player and so many great moments that equal to these 19,975 points. I just try to remember the special times that brought me to this place, and it’s going to give me more motivation to keep pushing.”
When he reaches that 20,000-point mark, he said he is not sure how he will react but acknowledged that it will be an occasion he cherishes forever.
“It’s always been about just playing for the love, playing because I just enjoy it and it makes me happy,” Durant said. “Anything in between, it’s just extra to be honest. I’m just thankful for it all.”