After winning two NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant says improving his game has surpassed chasing championships as his No. 1 career priority.
“I wasn’t expecting to be a happy human being from a title,” the Brooklyn Nets star told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on Saturday. “I was just expecting, like, you know, the ending of a movie – once you worked so hard and everybody tells you, like, ‘Yo, this is what you need to be working for, is this gold ball and these rings.’ And I’m just like, ‘All right, cool, let me lock in on that.’ And I locked in on wanting to achieve that, but I also realized it’s a lot of stuff that factors in it that’s out of my control.
“And once I won a championship, I realized that, like, my view on this game is really about development. Like, how good can I be? It’s not about, you know, let’s go get this championship. I appreciate that stuff and I want to win to experience that stuff, but it’s not the end-all, be-all of why I play the game.”
It’s difficult to imagine Durant playing better than he currently is. After missing all of last season recovering from a torn Achilles, the 11-time All-Star is putting up 28.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. He’s also hitting 44.3% of his 3-point attempts to help the 36-16 Nets sit atop the Eastern Conference standings.
The 32-year-old was even garnering consideration for a second MVP award early in the year, though his injury absences have likely removed him from the conversation.
Regardless, he hopes to play as long as he can.
“I’ve been around, been out of the game for two years and having anxiety about like, ‘What am I doing when I get back?'” he told Nichols. “Being out with an Achilles has you thinking about the game differently. And my goal is to be out there, you know?
“Who knows what’s gonna happen when I’m out there? I just want to be available. And I think that’s all I really want out of this – to be available for as long as I can. And we’ll see what happens between the lines.”