2018 NBA Finals: Warriors vs. Cavaliers

Kevin Durant says he can see himself retiring from NBA at age 35

Two NBA championships (and two Finals MVPs). A Kia MVP award. A Rookie of the Year award. Four NBA scoring titles.

Two NBA championships (and two Finals MVPs). A Kia MVP award. A Rookie of the Year award. Four NBA scoring titles.

Those things — and a host of other accomplishments — only begin to describe the NBA accomplishments Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant has amassed in his career. Yet after winning the latest of his Finals MVP awards on Friday in Game 4 of the 2018 Finals, Durant told ESPN’s Chris Haynes he could see himself leaving the game in five years.

“This game, your craft, you have to continue studying it,” said Durant. “No matter how much you enjoy it, nobody wants to be in school that long. I know I don’t. At some point, you have to be ready to graduate. Thirty-five, that’s just a number in my mind.”

Durant, who turns 30 in September, could ink a five-year deal in July. If he went down that path, it could end up being his last contract.

Rich Kleiman, Durant’s business partner, said Durant had previously shared with him that he might walk away at 35.

“I heard him say that, but I’ll believe it when it happens,” Kleiman said.

Durant has amassed 20,913 points in his career, which ranks him 36th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He has scored 2,000 or more points in every season in which he played at least 70 games. However, Durant says chasing the all-time scoring title — which is held by Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) — is not on his list, Haynes reports:

“Because it’s not about [the record],” Durant said. “I can leave the game knowing I did everything I wanted to do, my way, on my terms. That’s how I want to leave the game. And if I happen to have all these accolades and these accomplishments, then that’s cool. If not, I’m still cool.

“So I don’t think that’s going to define me as a player. It’s a cool accomplishment to be up there with the greats and to be considered someone who can potentially chase that, or beat that, but I’m not playing for that.”

Although he has been in the NBA since he was a 19-year-old rookie on the Seattle SuperSonics, Durant says he can imagine his life apart from the game and leaving it when he turns 35.

“Especially if I continue to approach the game the right way every day like I’ve been doing, hell yeah. Hell yeah I can move on,” he said. “No matter how many points I score, no matter how many people I pass up, no matter how many points I leave on the table, my legacy, as we always like to talk about, I can go up and ask any person who has ever seen me play and they’ll have a different way of viewing my game. So it’s hard for me to go out there and play for that type of stuff because it changes through so many people. So many groups of people probably view my game differently. So, it’s hard for me to focus on that.

“But I will focus on the people that love me the most, that encourage me, that pour into me and vice versa. I value what they say and how they feel about me more so than anything because that’s who I really went through this journey with, those people. That’s what my legacy lies in. I know they’re going to view it as a perfect career no matter what.”

On Monday night, Durant appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to talk about Golden State’s run to their latest championship. During that interview, he was asked about his comments to ESPN, which he somewhat brushed off.

“You said you were going to retire when you were 35,” host Jimmy Kimmel said.

“That was just … You know, I was just thinking crazy stuff. I don’t know why I said it. Maybe it was too much champagne that night,” Durant said. “I don’t know … I probably shouldn’t have said that.”

Whenever he does leave the game, Durant says he plans to keep his options open. Previously, he has shown an interest in owning an NBA franchise, but told Haynes everything from coaching to being a team owner to taking on a role within the game at large (a la Kobe Bryant) are options for him as well.

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