Kevin Durant took a few moments Friday to engage in public dialogue, reaffirming his status as a man of the people. It didn’t take long for conversation to be dominated by questions and comments related to his three seasons with the Warriors.
Mostly on KD’s place in the hearts of Dub Nation and the effect of playing alongside another superstar in Stephen Curry.
“Show me any indication of me ever being pissed off about not getting no love in the arena. Ever,” Durant said. “Any video of me getting pissed? Have you seen that from me? Or did you hear that through a bunch of narratives being created? Like, ‘I hate my teammates. Or ‘I’m jealous.’ Or I didn’t get enough fan love.’ What? I saw my jersey all around that arena.
“Everywhere I went in the Bay Area, people showed me love. I never talked about that. So where did that come from?”
When it was suggested that an attempt to break up the powerhouse Warriors might have been behind implying turmoil within the ranks, Durant seemed to consider that possibility but did not accept it as reason to make him a target.
“How’s that matter for me? What’s that mean for me? It feels like y’all might be more upset than I was about the media breaking up the team,” he said. “You guys (fans) might have really taken that personally. I didn’t take it personally.”
Asked about the subject, Durant cited media, specifically “The Victory Machine,” by sportswriter Ethan Sherwood Strauss of The Athletic, as the source of negative speculation about his relationship with Golden State teammates and fans.
“Ethan Strauss wrote a book about how I was saying I was pissed about how I didn’t get any love from the fans, and how I’m jealous of Steph and Mo Speights,” Durant said. “You believe Ethan Strauss over me?”
The book suggested Durant always saw himself as an outsider among his Golden State teammates. Unlike Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Curry, he was not drafted as a Warrior. Unlike Andre Iguodala, KD was not a part of the team that captured the franchise’s first championship in 40 years.
There is some truth to that, which might have been exacerbated by the volume of dissent Durant faced when he joined the Warriors as a free agent in July 2016.
Durant’s point was that he did nothing that led to personal conflict with Curry. The two typically spent post-practice sessions working out together.
“It’s starting to feel like y’all are really insecure about what these media guys are saying about Steph,” Durant said. “I know you’re huge Steph fans, but it’s starting to feel like y’all are the ones who are insecure and projecting it on me.
“I don’t give a s—t about what people have to say about who’s better or who gets cheered the loudest. That s—t never mattered to me. But over time, y’all just got irritated with the media and you try to blame that s—t on me, like I was creating these stories.”
Durant was asked relatively early in a chat that spanned about 30 minutes, with some of time lost to technical issues, if he was afforded more space because of Curry’s presence.
“Of course,” Durant said. “He’s a sniper.”
KD, however, saw it for what it was. His game was aided by Curry’s presence, just as Curry’s game was enhanced by him being on the court.
When it was mentioned that Durant’s presence didn’t stop the Toronto Raptors from coming at Curry with box-and-ones, traps and other gimmicky defenses in the 2019 NBA Finals, KD’s response was to remind all that he missed the first four games of the series:
“That’s probably why they boxed-and-one’d him,” he said.