The minute Kevin Durant announced that he's leaving Oklahoma City to join the Golden State Warriors, he knew the backlash about the move was going to be vicious and non-stop.
Sure enough, signing with the Warriors had NBA Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller bashing KD for taking the easy route to a title. Media members and fans also wondered how much him leaving OKC had to do with former Thunder teammate and fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook.
Well, just over two weeks since making the splashy announcement, KD is firing back — and way more than he did with his introductory press conference with Golden State two weeks ago.
Upon speculation that a lack of chemistry issues with Russ led to KD leaving OKC, he offered USA Today Sports: “Nah, it wasn't [a factor in him leaving]. I mean obviously [that alleged subplot is] coming out now [that] I'm gone, all these reports are going to come out. I can't really control it, but I just made a decision based on where I wanted to go, man. It was as simple as that. We can think about all the reasons and the factors and what factored in, but it was simple. That's where I wanted to play basketball.”
That being said, he added that he hasn't spoken in depth with Westbrook since notifying him that he was leaving OKC, but that he's "sure that will happen at some point."
KD saved the dragging for Chuck and Miller, though.
“Those are two guys, you know? They've got a voice in our game, and a lot of people probably felt the same way but they don't have a voice so obviously what they say is translated through a megaphone, so it feels like everybody else [thinks that]," Durant told USA Today. "If Charles Barkley said it, it must be true. If Reggie Miller says it, it must be true."
He added: “It just feels like it's bigger than what it is. But for the most part, I got the support around me. I've got the family that supports me no matter what, that love me no matter what I do. I could be playing tennis right now, and I could retire from the game of basketball and they're still going to love me. If I think about that, I'll be fine.”
KD will also be fine, considering he's joining a Warriors squad that went an NBA-best 73-9 last season, came within one victory of winning the NBA title and has back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry, and fellow All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
BET Sports News — Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports, including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes.
(Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)