KD is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated, the fifth time for him, and he gave a pretty serious quote to Lee Jenkins.
“I’ve been second my whole life,” KD said. “I was the second best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I’ve been second in the MVP voting three times. I came in second in the Finals. I’m tired of being second. I’m not going to settle for that. I’m done with it.”
(No one tell him he finished second in scoring this season and second on his own team in shot attempts.)
KD also says this, in regards to his friendship with LeBron and the perception from some that it’s holding him back.
“I’m not taking it easy on [LeBron]. Don’t you know I’m trying to destroy the guy every time I go on the court?”
KD’s play backs that up. Yeah, the Thunder have lost to the Heat now six straight times, including the four in the Finals, but that wasn’t because Durant failed. In those six games, he’s averaging 31.7 points on 52.7 percent shooting.
The taste of defeat from last year’s Finals changed Durant in a lot of ways, but more than anything, it’s only made him hungrier. Getting to dream and actually think about raising a banner, only to lose four straight games, has to be the worst feeling ever. And the most incredible motivation.
You saw how the 2011 Finals changed LeBron. He didn’t come back as a new player from it necessarily. Just a changed player. There was a new motivation to his game. He rediscovered himself and forced his mind to only focus on one thing.
Now, Durant’s got that type of approach. He’s proven himself a star, proven himself one of the two best players in the world. He wants more. He wants to be first.
Here’s the whole cover: