More than two months after leaving the Golden State Warriors for the Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant has opened up about his decision.
In a feature by WSJ. Magazine's J.R. Moehringer, the two-time NBA Finals MVP discussed how he felt "different" from the rest of the Warriors.
"As time went on, I started to realize I'm just different from the rest of the guys," Durant said. "It's not a bad thing. Just my circumstances and how I came up in the league. And on top of that, the media always looked at it like KD and the Warriors. So it's like nobody could get a full acceptance of me there."
That's not the first time Durant has brought up the feeling of being isolated. As he was sidelined by injury during the 2019 postseason, he felt as though the outside perception was, "It's the Warriors and KD":
He told Moehringer that while he "felt accepted," he understood he'd "never be one of those guys," referencing the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. Curry, Thompson and Green were all drafted by Golden State, while Iguodala was the Finals MVP during the first championship of the dynasty.
Despite winning two championships as well as a pair of Finals MVP awards, Durant never felt capable of being viewed in the same light as his teammates.
The decision to leave Golden State for Brooklyn may have seemed questionable from a basketball standpoint, but the 10-time All-Star had his reasons.
He told Moehringer that the love Nets fans showed him as a visiting player at the Barclays Center through the years left a lasting impact on him. Not only that, but he was also able to team up with Kyrie Irving, who he calls his "best friend in the league."
Durant spent nine years with the Thunder franchise and eight of those years in OKC. He had earned the right to be a free agent, and he felt it was in his best interest to join the Warriors.
The fact that people in OKC couldn't respect his decision rubbed him the wrong way.
"Such a venomous toxic feeling when I walked into that arena. And just the organization, the trainers and equipment managers, those dudes is pissed off at me? Ain't talking to me?" Durant told Moehringer. "I'm like, Yo, this is where we going with this? Because I left a team and went to play with another team?"
He had also hoped to return to OKC one day, but that plan appears to have gone out the window:
"I'll never be attached to that city again because of that. I eventually wanted to come back to that city and be part of that community and organization, but I don't trust nobody there. That s--t must have been fake, what they was doing. The organization, the GM, I ain't talked to none of those people, even had a nice exchange with those people, since I left."
Durant has previously owned up to being a "phony" during his Thunder tenure. Now, though, he is trying his best to stay true to himself.
"Some days I hate the circus of the NBA," Durant said. "Some days I hate that the players let the NBA business, the fame that comes with the business, alter their minds about the game."