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Kevin Durant refuses to blame Kyrie Irving for not getting vaccinated: ‘I get that people want me to feel a way’

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in 2022 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets

BROOKLYN, NY - APRIL 25: Kevin Durant #7 hi-fives Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets before Round 1 Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Many people were upset with Kyrie Irving for choosing to not to get vaccinated.

And they figured, if they were upset, Kevin Durant should be even more bothered.

Durant left a great-looking situation with the Warriors to play with Irving. Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated upended the Nets’ season. He couldn’t play Brooklyn home games for several months. That contributed to James Harden forcing a trade from the Nets. Brooklyn never got on track and got swept in the first round – a historic disappointment for the one-time championship favorite.

Yet, Durant didn’t express resentment toward Irving. Though getting swept by the Celtics really put into stark relief just how poorly the Nets’ season had gone, Durant still isn’t blaming Irving (or Harden).

Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports:

Durant didn’t hesitate when asked by Yahoo Sports following his news conference whether he wants to continue to have Irving as a teammate.

“Of course,” Durant said. “I would love for him to play more. Life is way more important to me than that. I can’t be pissed off. I can’t end the friendship based on something like that. Our friendship is based off who we are as human beings. The basketball adds to it. If we don’t get along on the basketball court, we can easily talk it out as friends.”

“James? Him leaving? I wish things would’ve been different,” Durant confessed to Yahoo Sports. “Being mad? I wish it was different. I can’t say I was that emotional.

“They’re grown-assed men. I can’t control how they feel. They might change their minds. Everybody gets that grace. Life is too amazing for me to be that upset. I get that people want me to feel a way.”

Durant is focusing on what he can control, respecting personal boundaries and supporting a friend. It sounds like a very healthy approach.

But fans don’t want their superstars taking healthy approaches. Fans want superstars to be unhealthily consumed by leading their team to winning.

Durant doesn’t live on those terms. Most infamously, he took a shortcut to a title by leaving the Thunder for the Warriors.

Like it or not, Durant and Irving – likely together with the Nets – can keep doing what they want.