In more intimate sit-downs with the media, however, it was pleasant to see Durant behind the noise and flash and spectacle. He cuts through a lot of the bull and doesn’t try to play a game of charm and seduction that many celebrities are wont to do.
For instance, is when he’s asked about developing a new signature move, Durant laughs and says, “It’s not like I’m waiting to reveal this new step-back that I have to the world. I’m just going to keep sharpening my tools and figure out the best way to help my team win a basketball game and be creative. I think the best moves come when you’re just out there playing, making mistakes, and trial and error is one way into a spectacular play.” He shrugs, adding, “Keep it simple and have some fun.”
The tendency to keep it simple is apparent, because when asked about what inspires him, he responds simply with “Love, music, basketball. Life in general.” He does however, have a lot to say about basketball itself. He speaks volumes about his support of female athletes in particular. “I grew up watching the Mystics, and I’ve seen how tough those ladies were. You know, we always want to tell those little babies to ‘be girls,’ shy away from the physical contact, but those girls, they have as much heart as we do. It’s just the physical that’s different—they may not all be as big and strong and fast as us, but mentally they’re there, and that’s 80 percent of the game. They’re polished, and we aren’t as men, so they’ve got a lot of stuff we can learn from. That’s the fundamental part,” says Durant. “The next step of basketball is all of us encouraging and lifting up the women’s basketball side to be as big as ours.”
“The next step of basketball is all of us encouraging and lifting up the women’s basketball side to be as big as ours.”
In terms of progress, Durant also remarks that basketball players taking their free agency more seriously, and making moves that are more beneficial to them maximizing their abilities versus adhering to supposed team loyalty, is a great development. “It’s amazing that players are taking control of their careers. Prioritizing winning has always been what basketball has been about. That’s why we all started to play… It’s a great time to be a basketball player not just in the NBA, but as a grassroots player aspiring to be in the NBA. There’s so much energy around the game, and it’s in the best place it’s ever been.”
Durant is also remarkably self-aware, saying that he feels there’s room for improvement in every part of his game. Surprisingly though, while he admits that he’s constantly thinking about the game, he also confesses to taking inspiration from places outside of the sport. “Hip-hop artists inspire me. I’m just inspired by the creative places people are in; it just makes me better and makes me want to do the same thing.” He adds, “There are people in my life and we kind of sharpen each other up every single day. Just having good men… and good women in my life that understand me and that understand what life is about, that makes me a better player when I’m on the court and a better man when I’m off it.”