Kevin Durant says part of decision to sign with Warriors was ‘validation from my peers’
Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors may have been unfair for the rest of the league, but the 2016 free agent signing was still one of the most interesting stories in sports over the past decade. We have heard some tales about Golden State’s presentation to Durant over the years, including that four Warriors players went to the Hamptons in New York to pitch Durant on joining one of the best teams ever assembled.
On Sunday, we got a huge chunk of information about that meeting in the Hamptons thanks to The Athletic and Tim Kawakami. In an oral history that included Durant, Steve Kerr, Kirk Lacob, Bob Myers, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, and Klay Thompson, we learned more about the process teams went throught in order to pitch the former Oklahoma City Thunder star.
The read is long but worthwhile, and one of the more interesting nuggets from the conversation was Durant talking about how having four of the leagues best players pledge their support for him and his game. Specifically, Durant said that having Iguodala, Curry, Green, and Thompson in the Hamptons validated him and perhaps pushed away some negative thoughts he had about his impact in the NBA.Via The Athletic:
At that time in my career, I didn’t know how other people felt about my game. And I knew that I was pretty damn good and I knew I worked extremely hard, but I needed that validation from my peers and teams and GMs, people that are really into the game, to really help me feel good about myself and help me feel confident and let me know that what I was doing was working.
So when they all came, and they all put stuff to the side to come to the meeting, I was like, man, this is amazing. Best team in the league, some of the best players, most accomplished players want me on their team and want what I do, what I bring to the table. It was pretty cool, you know what I’m saying?
Because I’m looking at this whole basketball thing from a kid’s perspective. I’m still excited, I’m still learning. So to have that much love in the room for how I play basketball, that’s cool. They’ll get to know me as a person, I was confident with that. But the basketball side, I was, like, man it’s pretty damn cool that people enjoy the way I play and want me to play with them.
This is a pretty interesting look into the mind of an NBA superstar, especially one who was formerly an MVP and known as a scoring champion. Durant is a player who does pay attention to media and fan commentary on him. Negative comments can get at the best of us, even NBA MVPs, and Durant might have had some nagging thoughts of himself as simply a scorer, or at least not a complete player.
Having other top players come to your doorstep and tell you that they want you on their team and not just as an offensive weapon was obviously a factor for Durant. The result has been exactly what he wanted, too. Durant already has one championship ring and the Warriors now lead the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals by a margin of 1-0.
Game 2 is at 5:00 PM PST on Sunday.