Kevin Durant accepts villain role as part of new challenge
The Golden State Warriors’ signing of seven-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant was a total team effort.
The top prize in NBA free agency said what really made an impression on him was four Warriors players showing up to meet him in the Hamptons over the weekend as Golden State pitched to Durant.
Reigning MVP Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green met face-to-face with Durant in an effort to bring him to California from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I was shocked that those four guys came to meet me,” Durant said during Thursday’s introductory news conference.
“To see them together, they all walked in and it looked like they were holding hands,” he said with a laugh.
Durant used the word “family” several times during his introduction when referring to the Warriors quartet that came out to see him in New York.
“I just felt like this group of guys, coming in to see me, everything felt real,” he said. “They were a huge family walking in. Everybody was excited. The conversation was real and it was a good fit.”
That conversation led the four-time scoring champion and former MVP to decide to join the Warriors family.
But before he could join his new family, he had to tell his old one — the Thunder — that he was not coming home anymore. And Durant admitted that was not easy.
“That call to Oklahoma City was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life,” Durant said. “Tears were shed.”
Durant acknowledged that there were many people who were not thrilled with his decision, but he ultimately had to do what was best for him.
“We live in this comic book world where you’re either a hero or a villain,” Durant said. “I can’t control that.”
By joining with the Warriors, Durant has become the villain in the eyes of many. But he can look himself in the mirror and know he did what he thought was right. And for Durant, that is all that matters at the moment.
And for the record, he does not think he took the “easy road” by going to a team that won 73 games last season and led the NBA Finals 3-1 before falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Nothing in this league is easy. There’s no shortcuts. There’s still 82 games to play,” he said. “This was the toughest road. It’s not the easy situation because I’m out of my comfort zone.”