As Kevin Durant turns the ripe age of 25 today, it’s apparent that he’s a very successful and wealthy young man. He’s had the privilege of traveling all over the world, numerous times. He’s basically loved by everyone in this city – and around the world. You would think that a player of his caliber was content where he is at in his career.
Nope, not true at all.
He’s done it all, four All-Star game appearances, three straight NBA scoring titles, even winning two Gold medals with Team USA in the Olympics and in the World Championships. As Durant heads into his seventh NBA season with goals of a championship. There is one glaring mark on his first ballot Hall of Fame resume. He’s missing that elusive championship.
He’s into his seventh season now, but Durant isn’t in panic mode yet, but he admits he’s hearing the clock ticking. He’s not ready to bolt for a bigger city, or another team with a better chance to win titles. He’s relaxed, and understands that patience is key in this league. I mean, LeBron James didn’t touch his first championship until his ninth season, Shaquille O’Neal was 26 when he was his first title, his eighth season. (Not comparing) Michael Jordan wasn’t a champion until his seventh season.
Winning championships in this league usually come at a cost. You have to earn it. You have to go through the wars and the battles. You have to have lady luck your side and hope that you’ve done enough in each game, giving it your all, to come out victorious.
He’ll put in the time no doubt. His team mates and front office know that. Kendrick Perkins said recently on Media Day that Durant could play basketball for eight hours a day and not be tired. That is where the continued hope for a World Championship still lies for this franchise. Durant’s ability to lead them there.
He cannot do it all though. He does have Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka teaming up to help him reach this goal. However, it’ll most likely fall back on the role players when it is all said and done. With a young, inexperienced cast of role players, the Thunder will try to get back to the pinnacle of the NBA.
“I’m excited for the opportunity I’m going to have; to step into a different phase as a leader. I’m just more seasoned.” Durant talked during Media Day. “You get better with time; that’s how I feel. I just feel more seasoned, more experienced, I just feel more like a vet. I’ve been through every situation, so I’m ready to take it head on and embrace everything.”
Durant understands what it takes, but will this young cast be able to lead the team back to the Finals? That remains to be seen. However, coach Scott Brooks spoke well of the team, said there was a lot of maturation this off season. He admitted, there was for him as well. That takes a big man to admit it. Durant says he got better, more mature. Especially after always being a runner-up in his basketball career. He’s wanting to finish first, for once.
“We’re really confident that we can,” Durant said. “We’re not going to come in and say, ‘We can’t win it all, we don’t have enough.’ We’re a confident group of guys, we’re an experienced group of guys. So, yeah, I think we can.”
One thing that was very notable for Durant this off season, is he showed up to Media Day with a little added bulk. He, as usual, kept certain things to himself. He didn’t elude to what he worked on most of the off season. (Though, it has been reported, that he was working on his post game).
In a game that is judged by how many titles you have, Durant is continuing toward that goal with the cast that he wants, for the most part. Despite the criticism that Oklahoma City faced for not doing a lot in the offseason, Durant remains unchanged. He knows the goal. He was happy with the offseason and understands some moves were made for the future.
“I think that the most important thing is worrying about what comes from the group, how we feel as a group and as an organization.” Durant said. “We feel that we’re in a good position and that’s all that really matters.”
While time continues to tick away, the great swingman from the DC area continues to work toward his goal. He hears what people are saying, but continues to strive, getting to the gym up to 2 hours early before practice, to hone his profession. However, it’ll continue to remain his ultimate goal.