Courtesy of “Any Given Wednesday” on HBO
Simmons: Every interaction you guys have on the court, how you shake hands … are you ready for all that?
Durant: “If I go out there and just nod my head at Russell, something’s gonna come out of it. If I give him a hug, something’s gonna come out of it. So, no matter what I do, somebody’s gonna say something, so I can’t avoid that.”
Simmons: How did you leave things with him? You guys were eight years together.
Durant: “It was difficult to tell him I was leaving, obviously because we’ve been together so much. But at the same time, it was something I had to do. It’s something that I made a decision on, so I had to stand firm. No matter who agrees with me or not, I have to live with it, nobody else does, so …”
Simmons also asked Durant about the narrative of him being influenced into going to Golden State and responding to critics of his decision to leave Oklahoma City.
Simmons: You go to Golden State and this narrative comes out of ‘oh, he’s too impressionable. He had people in his life to push him there.’ I’m thinking like … ‘I’ve met Durant. He’s a pretty proud dude.’ Why do people think he got manipulated? That must have driven you crazy.
Durant: “It did because I can’t go in the studio (gestures toward Nas) and express myself through words and it be a normal day. So if I were to come out and tweet something or Instagram, or whatever, a video of me disagreeing with what a writer said, it’s career suicide almost.”
Simmons: Right. Then it’s like, ‘oh he’s thin skinned. He can’t take the heat.’
Durant: “Exactly. So, once I made the decision, I knew I had to take a lot of stuff on the chin. I knew I had to keep rolling with the punches. It upset me coming from, you know people that I’ve spent time with, obviously they were upset.”
Simmons: Did you expect that part of it? That people would say like … it’s almost like they were trying to portray you as a weak person to go to Golden State. I was like, ‘maybe he just wanted a bigger city and a different offense and a different experience.’
Durant: “Yeah when they called me weak, I mean, I think I’m the total opposite. There’s plenty of times I could have quit in this whole lifestyle I’m in. There’s plenty of times when, when I lost I could have said, ‘oh that’s it for me. Let’s move on.’ There’s plenty of times where my neighborhood could have kept me down, but I just kept going. How am I weak if I’m at the top, elite level in my profession? I just chose to play for a different team, so … yeah, a lot people try to tear you down when you make them uncomfortable, when you make a decision that makes them uncomfortable or makes them upset. So I can’t control everybody.”
Simmons: I remember I went to college in Western Massachusetts and about Year 4 I was ready to get out. I was like, ‘I was ready for a new city.’ That’s the one narrative I never heard with you.
Durant: “Nobody cares about what I want as a person (crowd laughter). It’s all about what I can do on a basketball court. They don’t care if I like going fishing on Tuesdays, or like taking pictures on the street. Nobody cares as long as I can shoot that ball into the hoop. Why should I care about what they think if they don’t really care about me as a whole?”