The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 17, 2013

Durant taking criticism for the first time in his career

Thunder All-Star insists demeanor isn't an issue

NORMAN — Kevin Durant knows the criticism is going to come. After Oklahoma City was bounced from the postseason Wednesday and he failed to come through in the clutch, he has already heard the rumblings that maybe his desire wasn’t up to the task.

During his exit interview Thursday, Durant let the assembled media know just exactly what he thinks of that type of thinking.

“I don’t give a damn,” Durant said. “I’m going to be who I’m going to be. I’m not Kobe Bryant. I’m not Michael Jordan. I’m not LeBron James. I’m not Magic Johnson. I’m me. I’m not ever going to compromise myself and my integrity and what I believe in for winning some basketball games or winning a championship. That’s just not how I was brought up.”

In the Thunder’s final game, Durant had one of his poorest shooting performances of the season. He was 5 for 21 from the field and 11 of 15 from the free throw line. While he accounted for eight rebounds and led the team with six assists, he also had a game-high seven turnovers.

Even though the mild-mannered superstar doesn’t show it in the same ways as other NBA legends who have gone on to win titles, Durant contends he wants to win as much as anybody.

“I’m always going to fight for the game I love,” Durant said. “I’m going to claw until the last buzzer sounds and if I win a championship, of course I’ll be happy. I’m not satisfied to be in this league and losing, I’m going to work as hard as I can to get to that mountain top. I enjoy playing the game, I enjoy being here, but I’m never going to come out to the media and say I wasted a year because we lost a championship. Like I said, I don’t have to be Kobe Bryant.”

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