The two-time Finals MVP was recently interviewed by J.R. Moehringer of WSJ Magazine. During the interview, Durant touched upon a number of interesting topics, including why he’ll never return to the Oklahoma City Thunder and his tenure with the Golden State Warriors.
Although Durant didn’t have anything overly negative to say about Golden State — he went all-in on Oklahoma City — he did comment on why despite the team’s overwhelming success during his three years there, he was never fully accepted as a member of the Warriors.
The biggest reason?
The team had won before he was there.
“I came in there wanting to be part of a group, wanting to be part of a family, and definitely felt accepted,” Durant said in an interview the Wall Street Journal. “But I’ll never be one of those guys. I didn’t get drafted there… Steph Curry, obviously drafted there. Andre Iguodala, won the first Finals, first championship. Klay Thompson, drafted there. Draymond Green, drafted there. And the rest of the guys kind of rehabilitated their careers there. So me? Shit, how you going to rehabilitate me? What you going to teach me? How can you alter anything in my basketball life? I got an MVP already. I got scoring titles.
Although he made sure to mention that the team embraced him, Durant also addressed how he’s “different” from the rest of the guys. He also took a swipe at the media saying that the press never really included him on the Warriors. It was always, “Durant and the Warriors.”
“As time went on, I started to realize I’m just different from the rest of the guys. 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.”
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Kevin Durant Is Right — He Was Never Fully Accepted
As much of a crybaby as Durant can come across, he is truthful and blunt for the most part. He’s 100 percent correct in his assessment that he was never fully accepted on the Warriors from outside of the organization. The team won a championship without him and were the greatest regular season team of all time the season before he arrived.
However, the Warriors Became Unbeatable With Durant
However, there is one thing that you can’t take away from Durant — it’s the fact that the Warriors became unbeatable when he joined them. During his three-year tenure in Golden State, it’s hard to argue against the idea that he was the best player in the league. The Warriors lost just one Finals game when they hoisted the trophy in 2017 and 2018. Heck, they established themselves as the greatest NBA postseason team ever when they dropped just one playoff game during their 2017 run.
And although they lost to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Finals, remember that when Durant made his return in Game 5, they won that game. In Game 6 without Durant, they lost. If he was healthy for that series, I don’t think there’s any doubt they would have won three consecutive titles.
While we’ll always look back at Durant’s role on these teams and undervalue him, let us not forget — they blew a 3-1 series lead in the Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers before he got there.
The Warriors were great before he signed there — but they were unbeatable once he joined them.