Warriors

Warriors

Much has been made of the Warriors fans' perceived lack of love for Kevin Durant.

Durant came to the Bay Area three summers ago in pursuit of championships and the ability to play the Warriors' beautiful brand of basketball. 

Despite winning NBA Finals MVP in back-to-back seasons, rumors have swirled that Durant hasn't felt the love from Warriors fans and it could cause him to leave this summer when he has the option to opt out of his contract and become a free agent.

The 30-year-old star received chants of "MVP" from the Oracle Arena crowd during the Warriors' win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series Saturday.

Durant heard the chants but told The Undefeated's Marc Spears that he still feels the need to prove himself to the Warriors faithful every night. 

“I’m basically new compared to a couple of other guys,” Durant said. “It has taken the crowd a couple of years to get used to what I really, really do and get comfortable with what I’m doing. I get it. I wasn’t expecting anything from the fans. I feel like I had to come in and show that I deserve the love and the praise as a player. That has always been my thing no matter where I play.

 

“Every time I step on the court there is something I got to prove to everybody, or it is something I have to prove to myself. Somebody is watching. Somebody new is watching who has never seen me play. I have that in the back of my mind when I play, and that keeps me going.”

Now, some might see Durant's comments as a negative. That shouldn't be the case.

Since coming to the Warriors, Durant has been nothing short of spectacular. He's averaged 25.8 points per game while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from 3-point range. He's played the role of facilitator and closed NBA Finals games. 

And he still feels he needs to prove himself, not because of the lack of love, but because he wants to continue to earn all the love he's been given by being one of the best players on the planet. 

There is no complacency, and that's rare.

Durant has been open about the fact that he hasn't made his free-agency decision yet, opting to focus all of his energy on winning a third straight title with the Warriors.

[RELATED: KD, Steph don't want to be called the "defending champs"]

The 2014 NBA MVP will have a number of suitors this summer should he hit the open market, with the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers expected to try and steal Durant from the Dubs.

Should Durant choose to exit stage left come July, he could very well leave having been a part one of the most dominant three-year runs in sports history. A run that could end with his jersey hanging in the rafters of the Chase Center one day.

For now, Durant, Steph Curry and the Warriors are focused on steamrolling through the Western Conference en route to a third straight title, something that likely would make it even more difficult for Durant to leave the Bay.