NBA & Atlanta Hawks

Kevin Durant on joining, leaving the Warriors: ‘I’ll never be one of those guys’

The Kevin Durant we knew and loved was typically not a volume shooter. But there were times when he got so piping hot, when the opposition was so helpless, or when there was no other way the Warriors were going to win.

On those occasions he filled it up, and it was a sight to behold.

Recently Durant sat down with the Wall Street Journal Magazine, and in just as rare of a display, filled it up – more than 4,700 words on the NBA, exhilaration, disaffection, every stop along the way that led him to Brooklyn (for now). The love-hate relationship with his prodigious talent and the sideshow it attracts.

"Durant hates the way people are forever guessing about his psyche," wrote author J.R. Moehringer, "which is another reason he hates the NBA."

You want to know what he really thinks?

"His tenure in the Bay Area was great," Moehringer wrote. Says Durant, "It didn't feel as great as it could have been."

The beginning of Durant's time with the Warriors was rear-ended by his tenure with the Thunder.

"People coming to my house and spray-painting on the for sale signs around my neighborhood," he told the WSJ. "People making videos in front of my house and burning my jerseys and calling me all types of crazy names.

"I'll never be attached to that city again because of that."

So he took his talents to Oakland. "I came in there wanting to be part of a group, wanting to be part of a family, and definitely felt accepted," he said. "But I'll never be one of those guys. I didn't get drafted there.... Steph Curry, obviously drafted there. Andre Iguodala, won the first Finals, first championship. Klay Thompson, drafted there. Draymond Green, drafted there."

Part of the noise regarding Durant's signing with Brooklyn were stories in which Warriors insiders marveled how Durant didn't seem to be enjoying the team's success.

"It's very rare in our lives when we envision and picture something and it comes together the perfect way you envision it," he told Moehringer. "(The first title) was the only time in my life that happened, and that summer was the most exhilarating time. Every day I woke up I just felt so good about myself, so good about life.... That was a defining moment in my life – not just my basketball life."

It was the same result in his second season with the Warriors. Another title. Another Finals MVP. But the thrill was ebbing. Season 3 was filled with drama, from the angry exchange between Durant and Draymond Green at the end of an early season game, to his injuries during the postseason.

Did familiarity breed contempt? Seems so.

"The motion offense we run in Golden State, it only works to a certain point," Durant said. "We can totally rely on only our system for maybe the first two rounds."

(Hey there, Steve Kerr.)

"Then the next two rounds we're going to have to mix in individual play. We've got to throw teams off, because they're smarter in that round of playoffs. So now I had to dive into my bag, deep, to create stuff on my own, off the dribble, isos, pick-and-rolls, more so than let the offense create my points for me."

"He wanted to go someplace where he'd be free to hone that sort of improvisational game throughout the regular season," Moehringer wrote.

And now he's off to Brooklyn and a new adventure. Best of luck.

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