It’s going to be a long season for Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant.
The newly signed league MVP and two-time Finals MVP is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon injury suffered during the NBA Finals this past June.
Basketball has always been KD’s safe space and the place he goes to get away from everything. One of his favorite things to do is get “lost in the game.”
It is unclear when he will take the court again, and he will be going through grueling rehab sessions to regain the necessary strength to sit atop the basketball world.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, KD talked about his decision to come to Brooklyn, his recovery, why mental health shouldn’t only be limited to players and why the reception he received in Oklahoma City on his return still bothers him.
"Such a venomous toxic feeling when I walked into that arena [after joining the Warriors], and just the organization, trainers and equipment managers, those dudes is pissed off at me? Ain't talking to me? I'm like, 'Yo, this is where we going with this? Because I left a team and went to play with another team? I'll never be attached to that city again because of that.”
This has always bothered KD. He carried that franchise on his back, led them to the NBA Finals in 2012 and won league MVP honors in 2014.
Following the 2015-2016 season in which the Thunder advanced to the Western Conference Finals and held a 3-1 lead on the Warriors before losing in Game 7, KD left Oklahoma City via free agency and joined the Warriors.
The move was chided, ridiculed and hated by members of the media and fans. Something KD still has trouble understanding to this day.
He went on to say in the interview:
"Some days I hate the circus of the NBA. Some days I hate that the players let the NBA business, the fame that comes with the business, alter their minds about the game. Sometimes I don't like being around the executives and politics that come with it. I hate that."
KD was reflecting on his time with the Golden State Warriors. This departure was far less contentious than OKC, but wasn’t without its challenges.
This past season, speculation was running rampant from media members that KD going to the New York Knicks was a done deal, and executives within the Warriors organization were resigned to the fact that he was leaving at season’s end.
It even led to a public confrontation between KD and The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss in a postgame press conference.
Durant is an introspective guy and constantly challenges himself with perspective and new ideas. He’s also someone who enjoys social media and believes he should be allowed to interact with fans on any platform.
But there comes a level of scrutiny and commentary that you cannot control when you’re a public figure. It may not be “fair,” but KD’s been doing this for a long time now and should no longer be surprised by any of it.
It is that interaction that puts KD at odds with fans and some members of the media. Many have a tough time reconciling why someone of his stature would even concern himself with such trivial matters. But that’s what makes him who he is.
He is arguably the best basketball player in the world, but beyond that, he doesn’t see himself as any better or worse than anyone else.
“We talk about mental health a lot.... We only talk about it when it comes to players. We need to talk about it when it comes to executives, media, fans.”
We do. You better believe when that conversation happens, KD will be right there to add his perspective.
(Photo: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)