How could Kevin Durant join Golden State, the team that just eliminated the Thunder? Didn’t he loathe the enemy Warriors?
And how could Durant say he’s still cool with Russell Westbrook after leaving Oklahoma City? Hadn’t Durant just turned Westbrook into the enemy?
Durant on Any Given Wednesday With Bill Simmons:
When you step in between the lines, that’s when we compete. That’s when we’re going to go at each other. That’s what I’m going to do what I do in my zone and what you’re going to do what you do.
But I don’t carry that with me as soon as I step off the court. I don’t care about you that much even to try to want to hate you. You hear what I mean? I hear all the time that Michael hated such and such, Isiah hated such and such. I’m not thinking about about you at home when I’m on my couch for me to hate you that much. That’s just not who I am.
So, when we play, I’m not even thinking about you. I’m worried about how I’m going to dominate.
So, I’m not going out and meeting Russell by his car and wanting to talk to him. Or he’s not going to want to fight me. I don’t care about all that stuff. I’m going to go in there when we play, I’m going to hoop the way I’ve always hooped my whole life, and I’m going to compete the way I’ve always competed. The work doesn’t stop. I really just got a different jersey on.
This seems like a healthy attitude for Durant. Intrinsic motivation and a work/personal-life separation are noble goals.
But it also seems the unhealthily obsessive attitudes of players like Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas leads to championships. Ever listen to players brag about a team putting their families on hold to focus on a playoff run? We celebrate the devotion to team, but it’s also kind of sick.
Yet, how can the players with a balanced approach keep up on the court with players so menacingly focused on basketball? The best team, not the one with the most inner-peace, wins.
One potential solution: Join Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson on a team so talented, it might win without developing as extreme of a cutthroat mentality as past champions.