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#pounditWednesday, June 23, 2021

Kevin Durant ‘pissed’ he has become a forgotten superstar

Kevin Durant

When Kevin Durant was experiencing foot problems last season, there was a lot of talk about how he might end up like Bill Walton, Greg Oden, Yao Ming and several other tall players who were never the same after similar injuries. How did Durant respond? By appearing in 72 games this season and averaging 28.2 points, 5.0 assists and 8.2 rebounds per game.

A year ago at this time, Durant was sitting at home feeling like a forgotten former NBA MVP. He could lie and say he doesn’t listen to the media, but that isn’t his style.

“I use just about everything as motivation,” Durant told ESPN.com’s Royce Young. “I know you say don’t read stuff, don’t check Twitter, who cares. It doesn’t affect me, I don’t go home and not sleep at night, but it makes me go out there and say ‘f— you, I’m going to go out there and be who I am and you can’t deny it.’

“Those guys, Steph Curry, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, players that are considered at the top of the league at that moment and right now, they deserve all of that. It’s nothing taking anything away from them. But I deserve it too. I was definitely pissed.”

Durant said he never saw himself going the way of Walton or Ming with his foot injury. His mindset was to try and “act like it never happened.” Now, heading into the postseason once again, K.D. feels like he is not getting the credit he deserves.

“If a new guy goes out there and has a good game, they compare them to me so easily — when I’ve been doing this for nine years,” he said. “I looked at that as disrespect and looked at that as criticism and took it as that. And it made me elevate my game and made me want to go out there and show everybody who I am. It’s added a new level of confidence, for one, and put a bigger chip on my shoulder.

More specifically, Durant feels slighted that many do not consider him to be worthy of being named first-team All-NBA.

“I know I get a lot of ‘you don’t get criticized like LeBron James’ or ‘you don’t get talked about like some of the other greats,’ but I looked at that as the same as being criticized.”

If all of these comments sound familiar, it’s probably because Durant made extremely similar remarks almost exactly a year ago. He certainly isn’t lacking motivation, and that could be a good thing for Thunder fans.

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