The Golden State Warriors will face one of the best teams in the NBA Sunday as they play the Brooklyn Nets led by All-Star Kyrie Irving, former NBA MVP James Harden, and former Warriors Finals MVP Kevin Durant. The Warriors faced the Nets before to begin the season, however, this version of the team is much different since adding Harden.
One of the bittersweet moments about this matchup will be seeing Durant play against the Warriors in San Francisco. A place where many hoped he would continue to play for the remainder of his career.
Yet, while some are disappointed that Durant is no longer in a Warriors uniform, he remains “grateful” for his time with the team and explains how he will always be with them.
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Durant Says He’ll ‘Always Be A Warrior’
Before the Nets first played against the Warriors to begin the NBA season he opened up with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kerith Burke on the “Dubs Talk” podcast about how he’s kept tabs on his teammates and what it feels like to see them now.
“I keep in touch,” Durant stated to Burke via NBC Sports. “I’ve seen Draymond [Green]. We saw each other at a restaurant. It’s good to see him and his family. I talked to Steph a couple of times. It’s good to see from afar, see that everyone is doing well and realize that these bonds that we created will never be broken no matter what jerseys we have on, no matter what part of the country we all live in. From Shaun [Livingston] to Andre [Iguodala], JaVale [McGee], Steph [Curry], Klay [Thompson], Jordan Bell, Omri [Casspi], Nick Young. When you see guys you won a championship and had long playoff runs with, you have a different connection. I’m very grateful for my time in the Bay Area and I’ll always be a Warrior in my heart.”
While Durant may feel that he will always be a Warrior he didn’t hold back in their first matchup. In his first NBA action since tearing his Achilles in the NBA Finals for Golden State, he finished the game with 22 points and 5 rebounds, shooting a perfect 100% from the free-throw line out of 7 attempts and shot 7-16 overall from the field.
Adding Harden to the Nets current dynamic, the numbers may be even higher this time as their team is now more offensively focused than they were then.
Durant ‘Always’ Thinks Back to Time as a Warrior
With the type of winning that Durant was able to do as a Warrior it would be natural for him, or anyone, to reflect on how much success those teams had. As much as they were a lock to make the finals according to the public and the media, the team still had to lock in and play for one another to make sure they played up to expectations.
Durant, now being older in his career, stated that he thinks about those times whenever he’s giving advice to younger players in the NBA or reflecting on the friendships he’s built in the league.
“I’m always going to revert back to those times, especially in this basketball space,” Durant continued. “When I’m talking to new guys coming into the league, my experiences in OKC and Golden State, they are always going to be on the top of my mind, especially when I’m in the basketball arena, practice and talking to guys who love the game. On top of that, building friendships with guys like [Warriors director of team operations] Eric Housen, my guy Wilson Taylor in Oklahoma City, Donnie Strack and Drew Yoder, those relationships is what keeps us all together. Because we’re always going to talk and check in on each other. When you cross paths with guys and share locker rooms with guys, it doesn’t matter where you play. We all just have that common bond of spending time together.”