Kevin Durant opens up on his move to the Golden State Warriors

Kevin Durant. Photo / Photosport
Kevin Durant. Photo / Photosport

Kevin Durant disappointed the whole of Oklahoma when he announced he'd be leaving the Thunder to play alongside Steph Curry at the Golden State Warriors in 2016/17.

Since joining the franchise almost 10 years ago (he was with the Seattle SuperSonics before they relocated to Oklahoma and became the Thunder), the 27-year-old has been at the heart of everything Oklahoma City has done. He was the league MVP in 2014 and is a seven-time NBA All Star.

Along with Russell Westbrook, the pair has tried to push their team to championship glory. They fell agonisingly short when they lost to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals in 2012, and this year Steph Curry's Warriors were too good for them in the Western Conference Finals.

After the most recent campaign, the lanky 2m tall forward decided he'd like to play alongside Curry rather than against him, so he's moving to Oakland, where he'll play for at least the next two seasons.

He copped plenty of heat for his decision. Some accused him of being manipulated into making the switch and others suggested he was weak for not sticking it out in Oklahoma to lead the franchise to a championship.

It wasn't the same level of vitriol sent LeBron James' way when he left Cleveland for Miami, but Durant's decision wasn't a popular one.

Speaking on Bill Simmons' show Any Given Wednesday, Durant opened up on the criticism that hurt him the most.

"It did (drive me crazy) because I can't go in a studio and express myself through words and it be a normal day," Durant said.

"So if I were to come out and tweet something or Instagram a video of me disagreeing with what a writer said, it's career suicide almost.

"Once I made the decision I knew I had to take a lot of stuff on the chin. I knew I had to keep rolling with the punches. It upset me.

"It upset me coming from people I'd spent time with, and obviously they were upset.

"When they called me weak, I think I'm the total opposite. There's plenty of times in this life I could have quit, there's plenty of times when I lost I could have said, 'Well that's it for me.' There's plenty of times when my neighbourhood could have kept me down but I just kept going.

"How am I weak if I'm at the top, elite level of my profession and I just chose to play for a different team?

"A lot of people try to tear you down when you make a decision that makes them uncomfortable."

He also spoke poignantly about the sad reality that is the relationship between players and supporters. Every sports fan has been guilty at some point in their life of judging an athlete for a career move without stopping to think about why it might actually be in their best interests.

Outsiders know so little about the motivations of sportsmen and women, but are often so quick to call them out for a decision they might not agree with.

"No one cares about what I want as a person. It was all about what I do on the basketball court," Durant said.

"No one cares if I like going fishing on Tuesdays or like taking pictures in the street. No one cares as long as I can shoot the ball into the hoop.

"Why should I care what they think if they don't care about me as a whole?"


Durant knows he'll be heavily scrutinised when he steps onto the court in a Warriors jersey, and none more so than when he comes up against his former team and Westbrook.

"If I nod my head at Russell, something's going to come out of it," he said.
"If I give him a hug, something's going to come out of it, so no matter what I do, somebody's going to say something, so I can't avoid that.

"It was difficult to tell him I was leaving because we've been together for so long, but at the same time it's something that I had to do.

"No matter who agrees with me or not, I've got to live with it, nobody else does."

Curry might have something to say to Durant after he jokingly criticised the sharpshooter's shoe - the "Chef Curry" - released this year to widespread ridicule.

"They were bad," Durant said.

- news.com.au

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