For the ninth time in as many years since he was taken No. 2 overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise—formerly the Seattle SuperSonics—Kevin Durant walked off the floor Monday night without a championship ring.
One of the most dominant basketball players on the planet, Durant saw his Thunder team squander a 3-1 series lead against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, with a hell of a lot of that responsibility being pinned on both himself and fellow stud Russell Westbrook.
Following his most recent painful playoff loss, Durant opened up to talk to The Vertical‘s Michael Lee about the early exit, if his championship moment will ever come and that whole free agency thing.
“I hate to [expletive] lose. It sucks. I thought it was our year,” Durant told The Vertical while shaking his head after his Thunder lost to the defending champion Golden State Warriors96-88 in Game 7 of an incredible Western Conference finals series that won’t soon be forgotten, “but sometimes it doesn’t pan out that way.”
Like a certain other superstar who couldn’t get over the championship hurdle back in 2010—ahem, LeBron James—people are now wondering if Kevin Durant will ever win a title, with Lee asking him that exact question:
“I’m certain. I’m certain,” Durant told The Vertical about his belief that he eventually will win the championship that cements a Hall of Fame legacy. “They don’t love the game like I love it. Nobody knows how much I put in the work, how much I care about my teammates, about everything. I’ve given my heart and soul into this since I was 8 years old. Whatever happens, I’m certain. I feel confident that that moment will happen. I’m 27 years old. Hopefully, I can play a long time in this league but nothing is guaranteed. I know one thing for sure, I’m going to put the work in.”
And, much like one LeBron James who was a 20-something on the hunt for his first championship, many are wondering if Durant will stick it out with his current Thunder team, or if he’ll look for greener pastures.
“What I got, a month? I don’t know,” Durant told The Vertical. “I’ve got to decompress, just reflect. And I really can’t tell you. I’ll know in the next couple of weeks – if I even think about it. But as of today, I have no thoughts, I have nothing to really think about. Just enjoy, reflect on this season and all we did as a team.”
In his own words after the Game 7 loss, Durant hasn’t “even thought about it.”
Kevin Durant is an absolute superstar and one of the top-10 players in the NBA. He’s just 27 years old and will be paid millions upon millions as long as he keeps doing what he does on the hardwood. But, like everything, he’s finding that the most challenging thing is to be at the top of his profession—and Lee’s complete interview with Durant helps explain how he might get there one day.