The Kevin Durant introductory press conference was today, and everybody got a chance to see a visibly happy Durant talk about how excited he is to join this Warriors team.
It was filled with the usual optimism that a player like Durant would exude about joining a new team, and really writing a new chapter in his life after spending so much time in one place.
There were some quotes he had that were pretty interesting, and could be deciphered through examination to really uncover some of the thoughts and feelings he had throughout this process that he wouldn’t directly admit at a press conference.
He seemed to be really struck that so many of the Warriors players came to the Hamptons to meet with him. “The team won 73 games and a championship before. I didn’t think that they would be interested in a player like me because they had so much success,” Durant said.
First of all, the modesty that Durant portrays with this quote is almost laughable. Why wouldn’t the Warriors want a player who has won 4 scoring titles in his 9 year career?
Nevertheless, his emphasizes on that type of genuine, family-oriented atmosphere to make a guy like Durant feel as comfortable as possible in making such a huge life decision is very telling. I was confused at first, because he made it seem like the Warriors went above and beyond the other teams vying for him in that regard.
The Warriors may have made him feel the most at ease of any of the groups, but Durant made it seem like it was especially unique.
I then remembered that Chris Paul didn’t attend the Clippers’ meeting with Durant. Maybe that left a stronger impression on Durant than assumed.
Durant also addressed critics like Charles Barkley and other fans who lament that he has taken the “easy route” to a championship.
Kevin Durant said Russell Westbrook wasn't ecstatic about his decision but he respected it. https://t.co/GeNPDDXkZr
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) July 7, 2016
He basically said that in this league, no championship is easy. There’s a reason that they play the games instead of just awarding a championship in pre-season. A grueling NBA year brings trials and tribulations that no team is immune to, so that type of critique isn’t just not fair, but blatantly misguided.
He also talked about breaking the news to Russell Westbrook. “I’m sure he wasn’t happy with the decision, but he respected it as my friend,” Durant said.
Westbrook and Durant had great success in this league together, and I’m sure that they’ll consider each other friends for the rest of their lives. A bond like that isn’t easily broken. Although they seem like very different people and had some very angry outbursts at each other over the years on the Oklahoma City sideline, it was undoubtedly hard for Durant to leave Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It speaks volumes to how exciting the chance to join the Warriors is that he’d walk away from a situation that he had been so successful with.
In his official introduction as a Warriors player, Durant showed both poise and class. The Bay Area can’t wait to welcome him with open arms.