After Kevin Durant won the NBA MVP award two years ago, there were many people out there who considered him to be the best basketball player on the planet. Yes, there was obviously still an argument—a very strong argument—to be made for LeBron James, but at the very least, KD winning MVP opened up an interesting LeBron vs. Durant debate. And it looked like KD was going to dethrone King James and rule over the NBA for the next few years.
That didn’t end up happening, though, because KD suffered a series of foot injuries that ultimately sidelined him for significant stretches of time. And while he was out, Steph Curry swooped in and stole his thunder. Curry put together an amazing MVP season last year and followed it up by winning his first NBA championship. And during a recent interview with ESPN.com, KD admitted that, while he was laid up letting his fractured right foot heal, he checked social media often and read a lot of articles, and he didn’t like what he saw. He felt like people had forgotten about him—and he didn’t appreciate it.
“I use just about everything as motivation,” he said. “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, ‘[Expletive] 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.”
In the ESPN.com report, KD went on to explain how he was able to overcome his injury and, more importantly, how he was able to use the perceived slights against him to overcome any worries he had about coming back. He also said that everything he read last summer “put a bigger chip on my shoulder” as he prepared for this season.
KD is at a really interesting point in his career right now. He averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game this season and led the Thunder to a three seed in the NBA Playoffs. But his impending free agency still seems to be a bigger story than Oklahoma City’s chances of making a run to the 2016 NBA Finals, so it’s going to be fun to see how he approaches the postseason.
The Thunder open up the playoffs against the Mavericks tomorrow night. While you wait for that series to start, head here to read the ESPN.com report on KD.
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