In leaving Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors last week, Kevin Durant not only ripped the hearts out of Thunder fans, but he dismantled one of the NBA's most-dynamic duos — Russell Westbrook and himself.
Reflecting on the move with China's Sina Sports on Thursday, KD explained how he broke the news to Russ that he's leaving OKC to sign with the Warriors.
"I just told him. I let him know how I felt," Durant said, as reported by ESPN. "Obviously, our relationship won't ever be the same again. But it's something I wanted to do and I expressed that to him. Hopefully, he respected it."
Oof. Saying "hopefully, he respected it," could be asking a lot from Russ, considering KD left OKC to join the Warriors after the Thunder lost a 3-1 Western Conference Finals' lead over Golden State to drop the series.
That and Durant joined a Warriors' squad that went an NBA-best 73-9, came within a win of the league title and has three fellow All-Stars in two-time MVP Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Should Russ respect KD leaving OKC to join that?
Whatever the case, KD knows he's public enemy No. 1 in the NBA right now.
"Yeah, it's difficult. I'm not used to this much attention, but I'm getting used to it," Durant continued telling Sina Sports. "Obviously, people don't like me right now, but it is what it is. I can't please them all. I've got to still go out there and handle my business.
He added that he can't allow himself to get too sidetracked by critics dubbing him as the league's newest villain.
"They're not going to get up at 9 o'clock in the morning and work on their game for me," Durant said. "I've got to do all of that on my own. I can't worry about people on the outside. I've got to go to sleep at night, I've got to get up and I've got to perform. I've got to do all that stuff. It is what it is. Once we start playing the games, I'll feel a little bit more better. Right now, it's definitely a change. There's a different vibe going around, but I'll get used to it."
If he's feeling the heat now, just imagine his reception arena to arena, when the 2016-17 NBA season tips off this fall.
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(Photos from left: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images, Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)