Kevin Durant said his decision to leave the Golden State Warriors wasn't about improving his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.
"I just wanted to play ball somewhere else," Durant said of joining the Brooklyn Nets, per Michael Lee of the Washington Post. "But a lot of people see it as I'm chasing something. And I think it probably stems [from] when I said, 'I don't want to be No. 2 no more.' I was No. 2 in high school, in the draft. But what I had to explain to people was, I had just lost in the Finals. I wanted to go back and win the Finals. It wasn't about: 'I want to be the best ever. I want to be better than LeBron or [Michael Jordan].' I don't give a s--t about that. I want to wake up every day and do what I do. If we win, I know that stuff comes with me being the best that I can be."
Durant won two NBA titles in three seasons with the Warriors, earning Finals MVP both times, but he was heavily criticized for joining an elite team that had already won 73 games the year before.
When he left for the Nets in 2019, it was seen as an opportunity to build a champion from scratch and prove himself as an elite player. Durant said that's not the case, calling it just "another pivot" in his career.
Durant's time with the Nets has certainly not gone to plan, as the team has earned just one playoff series win over the last two years. He didn't play in 2019-20 as he recovered from an Achilles injury.
The 34-year-old requested a trade in the offseason before deciding to return, and he is now playing at an MVP level while averaging 30.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. The Nets are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 19-12 record.
Winning a title on a team featuring Kyrie Irving and just one other player scoring double figures (Nic Claxton) would certainly help Durant's ranking as an all-time great.
The 12-time All-Star is already known as one of the game's best scorers, ranking fourth in NBA history in career points per game (27.3 ppg). He trails only Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor and ranks just ahead of LeBron James. Durant has four career scoring titles, something LeBron has done just once.
Still, Durant says he doesn't care about comparisons to Jordan or James. He'll play his own game and leave the debating to others.