Interview: Andre Roberson 'Shocked' By Kevin Durant's Departure, Says Thunder Still Championship Team

he told us who’s secretly a good dancer on the Thunder, who’s the worst teammate to sit next to on a flight, and how KD texted him that he was leaving.

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Complex Original

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Andre Roberson quietly did exactly what he was supposed to do during the playoffs.  And then he exploded in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, announcing loudly he’s got game.  

In his third season with Oklahoma City, the guard dropped a career high 17 points and 12 rebounds to help give the Thunder a commanding 3-1 lead in the series over Golden State. Roberson proved that he’s much more than just a reserve by breaking Golden State’s zone and knocking down threes thanks to thoughtful screens and effective movement.

But after the Thunder dropped the next three game and lost Kevin Durant to free agency and the hated Warriors, Roberson could see his role with the team significantly increased next season. But how did he handle the news of KD’s departure?  

We got on the phone with Roberson from Taiwan where he’s leading camps and drills with kids as part of the 2016 Cathay NBA Youth Madness Finals, an event that features finals of university-based 3-on-3 tournament, family shootout contest, and performances by the Thunder Dance Team. He told us who’s secretly a good dancer on the Thunder, who’s the worst teammate to sit next to on a flight, and how KD texted him that he was leaving for the Bay Area.   

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

How’s Taiwan so far?
It’s pretty good. It’s a beautiful city and I’m going around visiting a lotta tourist attractions. Got a lot more to do and it should be fun. So far I’ve seen Memorial Hall, it’s pretty nice, and I’ve gone to a street night market, and a couple other things so far. And I’ve got a lot more to check out.

What are the fans like there?
They’re amazing. I love their enthusiasm, their passion for the game. The knowledge of the game is a lot greater than I expected. I’m just doing anything I can to give back to them as much as I can.

How are they different from U.S. fans?
Their energy. I can walk up to them and they’re just so excited and appreciative of my presence. I feel fortunate that I could do this and I appreciate them just as much, so it goes hand in hand.

I mean, with star caliber like Kevin it changes a lot. But at the same time I feel like we still haven’t changed. 

I’m transitioning a little here, but you probably knew I was gonna have to ask about this; so how surprised were you when you found out about the KD news?
I was pretty shocked, not gonna lie. Me personally, I didn’t think he was gonna leave. I thought he’d play another year, fight it out, and try to win a championship. I mean I was definitely shocked, but at the same time I’m happy for him. It’s been weighed in a lot on...and it’s his decision. I’m happy for him as a friend and as a teammate I play with. I think he did what was right for him.

How did the team find out?
Um, I don’t know how some of the guys did, but I found out through the media just like everybody else did. And then Kevin texted me and told me the news. It was definitely a shock, but at the same time I’m happy.

How has this changed the dynamic of the team?
I mean, with star caliber like Kevin it changes a lot. But at the same time I feel like we still haven’t changed. Like at the same time, we still have a great shot to be championship contenders. (We have) a lot of great guys to step up and play a bigger role on the team. It’s a special opportunity for us to grow and get better and expand our roles.

There’s a decent chance you’ll be guarding him at some point next season. How do you feel about that?
It’s definitely gonna be weird for the first time. At the same time, I’m gonna do my job and do it to the best of my abilities. And when we play the Warriors it switches everything, you know, I’ll be guarding a little bit of everybody at some point. It’s fun and it’ll be a challenge I look forward to.

It hasn’t been too long since the season ended, but what have you been working on in the offseason thus far?
Mainly my weight. I’m tryna pack on more. It’s a couple pounds so far. I’ve been in the weight room a lot. I gotta work on my basketball game as well. So like I said my shooting, ball handling, isolation moves. It’s just the beginning and I know I got a lot of work to do, but it should be fun. I love the off-season.

What do you think makes you such an effective defender?
My resiliency. That never give up attitude. When I get hit by a screen there’s that extra effort to challenge it and get back in the play. I feel like my attitude, my athleticism helps me out with that a lot. So I do the best I can to pick out my opponent and not let him touch it and lock him out.


OKC has become known for pregame dancing, mainly Russell Westbrook and Cameron Payne. In your opinion, who’s the best dancer on the team?
In my opinion? There are a lot of great dancers. I would say obviously the two that aren’t afraid to dance are Westbrook and Payne, so I’m gonna have to go ahead and throw them in that category.

Anybody who’s secretly a good dancer in the locker room?
Mitch McGary (laughs).

What are your own top travel tips?
Get a lotta great movies to watch and TV shows or some books.

Who’s the worst teammate to sit next to on a long plane ride?
It’d probably be Enes Kanter. Actually, Enes Kanter for sure (laughs). He falls asleep right away on the plane. He has his little pillow and blanket and then he falls asleep.

One place you haven’t visited that you’re dying to check out?
There’s a couple places. One is New Zealand. [Steven Adams] has been bragging all about it and you know I’m willing to actually go and see what he’s talking about. And I want to go to Spain and it just so happens we’re going there this summer. I kind of didn’t plan anything, so it should be a fun trip to go with the guys and play a couple games.

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