It’s too bad we don’t hear more from Kevin Durant, the star of the Oklahoma City Thunder that’s won the previous two NBA scoring titles. Still just 23 years of age, Durant has plenty of time to find himself squarely in the spotlight, but as of now, not nearly enough casual fans know about just what kind of special young player and person Durant is. For anybody who thinks the NBA is just a league of egomaniac stars, you’re not paying attention to the new crop of stars in the league that are as good a role models as you could ever hope to have in professional sports. Durant’s at the forefront of that movement. That’s why it’s so unfortunate that the ongoing NBA Lockout threatens to derail any and all momentum that the league has slowly but surely accumulated this past several years. We’ll see if any progress is made on Tuesday when players and owners next meet to try to get closer on working out a new collective bargaining agreement.
Durant joined The Sports Animal in Oklahoma City to talk about how the exhibition games organized by players came about earlier during the lockout, the upcoming run in Oklahoma City, the players stance during the ongoing lockout negotiations, what his message to fans would be who think that the players are being greedy, what parts of his game he’s been working on during the offseason, what he’s specifically doing to try to improve his post game, and his reaction to his Texas Longhorns losing in consecutive weeks to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
On how the tour of exhibition games organized by players came about earlier during the lockout:
“I think it just starts its own self. When guys play in summer leagues throughout the summer, with us having this extended offseason, it was just so much fun you just had to keep it going. And guys like to play under the whistle. We started off with one in Baltimore where all the guys — LeBron, Carmelo, CP, myself — we all played in that one and since then guys just started to schedule them and they just got better and better. So I wanted to do one in OKC for awhile now, and it’s started to come together now and I can’t wait.”
On the players fighting not only for the present but also the future:
“Yeah man, I think we’re trying to get a deal done that’s going to really help what we’ve got going on now, but like you said, the players that will be coming after us too. We’re sacrificing a little bit of time for betterment of both. But hopefully we get something done because I know the fans are getting anxious or a little upset, but I think we’re doing what we need to make sure the players have a fair deal.”
On what his message is to fans that think the negotiations are still ongoing because of players being greedy:
“Well first of all, we’re not trying to get more money. We already gave up money, we sacrificed money in our negotiating to try to make a deal. But the owners won’t budge.”
On what specifically he’s working on with his game during the extended offseason:
“Oh, everything — posting up, more play-making skills, shooting off the dribble, everything. I’ve just been trying to watch different guys around the league, try to look at some of their tendencies and try to put that in my game as well. So I’ve been learning a lot, watching a lot of film and trying to grow.”
On what specifically he’s trying to do to improve his post game:
“I’ve always wanted to say this but I have a post up game, it’s just a matter of me…I get double-teamed a lot, no team in the NBA is going to allow me to post up and have three or five seconds to do what I do before sending a double-team. So for me, why would I always post up when I know I’m going to get double-teamed and put myself in a bad position and get turnovers. So I try to get in there and score quick and get some post moves in, but why would I always go down there when I know a double-team is going to come where I get most of my turnovers? A lot of people get that kind of confused in thinking I don’t have a post game when I know I have a good post game. It can get better, of course, but I do have one. And every time I go down there, there’s two or three people down there and I can’t make a post move.”