NOT everything has been golden for Kevin Durant after the NBA superstar joined the Golden State Warriors in July.
Durant spoke about the criticism when he appeared as guest of sports columnist and analyst Bill Simmons on Any Given Wednesday on HBO.
“It did (hurt). I can’t go in the studio 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 a writer, it’s career suicide,” said the seven-time NBA All-Star.
“Once I made the decision, I knew I had to take it on the chin. I had to keep rolling with the punches. It upset me. It upset me coming from, you know, people I spent time with. Obviously they were upset.”
Durant also responded to critics who labeled him as “weak” for joining a team that the Oklahoma City Thunder had on the ropes after taking a commanding 3-1 win-loss lead against the Warriors in last season’s Western Conference Finals.
“When they called me weak. I think I’m the total opposite. There’s plenty of times I could’ve quite in this lifestyle. There’s plenty of times when I lost I could’ve just said that’s it for me and moved on. There’s plenty of times my neighborhood could’ve kept me down. But I just kept going,” Durant pointed out.
“So how am I weak when I’m at the top, elite level of my profession and just chose to play for a different team? A lot of people try to tear you down when you make them uncomfortable or make a decision that makes them uncomfortable. Or makes them upset.”
He admitted that was not easy for him to talk to Russell Westbrook, his fellow star in OKC the past eight seasons.
“It was difficult to tell him I was leaving, obviously because we’d been together so much. But at the same time it’s something I had to do, a decision I’ve made. So I had to stand firm on it, no matter who agreed with me or not. I have to live with it. Nobody else does.”
Durant is also disappointed fans see him only as a basketball player.
“No one cares about what I want as a person. It was all about what I do on the basketball court... No one cares as long as I can shoot that ball into the hoop. Why should I care what they think if they don’t care about me as a whole?”
With Durant, the Warriors are considered heavy favorites for the NBA championship. Last year’s team led by NBA MVP Stephen Curry and All-Stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson set an NBA record 73 wins in the regular season but lost in seven games in the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers.