At CBS Sports, I wrote a big long Kevin Durant feature talking to him about a number of different things. I spent a decent amount of time talking to KD, so I thought I’d transcribe some of it here as a Q&A too.
Two years ago, you said pretty emphatically that you were no star. After winning a scoring title, finishing runner-up for MVP and taking home a gold medal, how about now?
“Nah, I don’t”
What would it take then?
“I guess I just got to win a championship, I don’t know.”
What about an MVP or 10 straight scoring titles?
“I guess then you could say that, but right now, I haven’t really done too much. When I go to the other arenas and they call my name I kind of listen to the crowd. They don’t roar as much as they do for a Kobe or LeBron or Dwyane Wade or Carmelo. I’m not there. I’m happy with the progress I’m making as a player, I wouldn’t say I’m a star but I’m growing, I can tell you that.”
A lot of people make a big deal about Oklahoma City being the second smallest market in the league and therefore, you’re kind of hidden. But you were the second leading vote getter in the West behind Kobe. So do you think that stuff is overrated?
“Yeah it is, I think so. I didn’t know I’d be up there in votes at the beginning of the season. But it feels good for people to recognize who I play for and the team we have and just showing that respect to me as an All-Star starter that means I’m doing things more than just on the basketball court. It extends off the court. I just got to continue to be the person and player I am.”
Do you care much about profile and marketability and visibility?
Nah not really. I’m blessed to be in this position. All of that stuff is cool and it comes with the territory but I really don’t try and press it too much. I just like playing basketball. I just like coming in every day and playing with these guys. Anything else is just extra to me.”
A lot was made about your Twitter extension and then you bringing Nenad and Thabo onto the cover of SI with you and a whole bunch of other stuff like that. Do you find it weird people make such a big deal out of you just being yourself?
“Yeah man, sometimes it gets a little annoying. People make too much of a big deal out of it. Because other guys probably have done the same thing. I’m not the first guy to do things like that. But I’m just being myself.
I think the thing that really upsets me is a lot of people in talking about it too much try to say it was fake. That’s something that I think is BS because I’m just being myself. I’m just doing the things I was taught basically. It is what it is. I’ve just got to continue to be me and not let anybody change me.”
You’re known for being super humble, but let’s face it, you’re awesome at basketball. Is it ever hard not to step back and think, “I really am pretty darn good”?
“You know what, when I look at my box scores and see I’m 14 for 20 for 40 points, but I always think if I could’ve made these two jumpshots I could have 44 points. Or if I made a free throw I could have 45. So I’m always thinking bigger. I’m never complacent with what I did.
Of course I’m happy with the progress I’m making. Sometimes I get a little too excited at times but then I need to calm down, but I’m always looking to get better and get bigger, so I can never really get too complacent.”