One of the main takeaways from the behind the scenes tell-alls of Kevin Durant’s departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder was that he hears what the outside world says about him, making him fairly impressionable.
It was easy to cast those stories aside considering how commonplace it is for a team to release unsavory details as a star walks out the door, but the confirmation is growing louder.
ESPN’s Ethan Strauss had an interesting report of a post-practice shooting workout Durant had in New Orleans in the wake of Golden State’s opening night thrashing at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, saying the former MVP was talking to himself with lines he’s heard from the doubters:
“They say I ain’t hungry!”
“They told me I ain’t have no drive!”
“They called me a coward!”
Those are just a few of the quips Durant shouted (brief video can be seen in the link above). Per Strauss, Durant said, “That’s what I say to myself when I’m working […] You hear what they say about you. Everybody hears it. So it’s a little extra motivation when you hear it.”
He then attempted to play it cool with how much he seeks out what is said about him, adding, “It’s not that I read it, it’s just in the air. You know it’s just in the atmosphere and people tell you and you hear about it. You guys ask me questions about it all the time, so obviously I know, but I’m not losing sleep on it. It’s just wood on that fire.”
As LeBron James showed in Miami, sometimes the backlash that comes from a big move in free agency can create some lingering psychological effects, so while Durant will ultimately continue to be an amazing player, his state of mind remains worth keeping an eye on.