Kevin Durant doesn’t like to live in the past, perhaps because he’s all too aware of what lingers there.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, which was published in the WSJ magazine Tuesday, Durant reflected on the journey to get to his new reality — a four-year, $164 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets. And the road to this point — despite the fame, money, titles and accolades — hasn’t always been a pleasurable ride.
The two-time champion and Finals MVP hasn’t been back to the Bay Area — and has no plans to return — since suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon during Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto. He told The Wall Street Journal that he even had staffers pack up his apartment.
He knew his time with the Warriors was over.
“It didn’t feel as great as it could have been,” Durant told the WSJ.
Durant pins that on fan anxiety, media speculation and the “business” of the NBA, which he finds to be the ugly side of the league.
“Some days I hate the circus of the NBA,” Durant told the WSJ. “Some days I hate that the players let the NBA business, the fame that comes with the business, alter their minds about the game. Sometimes I don’t like being around the executives and politics that come with it. I hate that.”
Added Durant: “We talk about mental health a lot. … We only talk about it when it comes to players. We need to talk about it when it comes to executives, media, fans.”
Those same undertones still cause Durant to look back with bitterness on his time with Oklahoma City, where he spent eight seasons after the franchise moved there from Seattle after his rookie season in 2007-08. He said the positive relationships he had built over that time disappeared instantly after he made the decision to join the Warriors as a free agent after the 2015-16 season.
“People coming to my house and spray-painting on the for sale signs around my neighborhood,” Durant said of the time after his decision. “People making videos in front of my house and burning my jerseys and calling me all types of crazy names.”
Durant remains bitter because he feels that “venomous” emotion toward him, despite charitable contributions he made to the community, still lingers.
“Such a venomous toxic feeling when I walked into that arena [after joining the Warriors],” Durant told the WSJ. “And just the organization, the trainers and equipment managers, those dudes is pissed off at me? Ain’t talking to me? I’m like, ‘Yo, this is where we going with this? Because I left a team and went to play with another team?’
“I’ll never be attached to that city again because of that. I eventually wanted to come back to that city and be part of that community and organization, but I don’t trust nobody there. That s— must have been fake, what they was doing. The organization, the GM, I ain’t talked to none of those people, even had a nice exchange with those people, since I left.”
Despite saying that on “some days I hate the NBA,” Durant still expressed love for the game.
“Without basketball, I wouldn’t have done much on earth,” Durant told the WSJ. “I wouldn’t have seen stuff that I’ve seen, compared to my friends I grew up with.”