OAKLAND -- Dressed in his game gear and pulling up a chair for a meet-and-greet with media from around the globe, Kevin Durant on Monday officially moved in with the Warriors.
Bay Area basketball and life, as the Warriors have known it, are about to change.
Durant spoke comfortably but cautiously during Warriors Media Day on Monday, when he addressed topics ranging from his new surroundings and teammates, to the recruiting process that brought him to the Warriors, to the new tattoos he picked up in recent months.
And though he also touched on the peaceful protest movement re-ignited by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Durant focused mostly on basketball and the desire to take the court for the Warriors.
“It's new, fresh, and I'm looking forward to it,” he said. “I just got super excited as I was walking in here. Just to play here and play for this great organization and play with these players, I'm excited.”
“...That's what it all comes down to, the game, that's the most important part. To get on the court and get acquainted with my teammates and the coaching staff, I'm looking forward to that more than anything.”
Durant also indicated he’s prepared for whatever criticism and expectations that may come toward him or the team with his move west. It helped that he was a leader on Team USA during the Rio Olympics last month.
“In the Olympics, the pressure is on you to win it,” he said. “But when you're around good people, when you're around a group of guys that don't worry about their outside, it makes everything easier.”
With seven All-Star Game appearances, four scoring titles, an MVP award and two gold medals in international play, Durant arrives as a basketball player with a long list of accomplishments.
One thing is missing, though, and that’s why he’s a Warrior, joining forces with fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson -- part of the traveling party that recruited Durant to the Bay Area.
Their recruiting efforts, Durant conceded, made a difference.
“It really matters,” he said. “You want to know what they're about. I'm at the point in my life now I can kind of figure out what they're about. And what they stand for, just by talking with them, and sitting down and talking with (general manager) Bob (Myers) and the rest of the guys, for a couple of hours, showed me all I need to know.”
Durant was teammates with Green and Thompson on Team USA’s gold-medal winning team in the Rio last month. The 6-foot-9 forward has long relationships with Andre Iguodala and Curry, too, so he’s on familiar ground.
That Durant identifies with the late entertainer Tupac Shakur, who grew up in the Bay Area, won’t hurt the newest Warriors superstar. Durant added two tattoos over the summer, one being Shakur and the other of late singer Rick James.
“I know people look at me (strangely) by having two men on my back, but they're people who inspired me,” Durant said. “And I just did it one day, spontaneously I got two tattoos.”
Training camp begins on Tuesday. The first preseason game comes Saturday. The regular season opens on Oct. 25. It’s all coming in a rush for the newest Warrior, who is trying to adapt to the Bay Area.
“I've just become more and more realistic as each day goes by,” he said. “And now I have my jersey on and media day, and seeing all my teammates, it's real. And I'm excited, man.
“It's been a fun, fun summer, different summer than I've ever experienced. But for the most part it was great to go through. So I'm excited. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to play. And I'm just anxious to play.”