Kevin Durant calls Olympics “therapy” after Warriors backlash

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Kevin Durant heard all the criticism sent his way for his decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors this summer — that he was a coward, that he was taking the easy way out, that he wasn’t loyal to Oklahoma City. He won’t make his Warriors debut for over a month, once training camp and preseason kick off, but he just finished winning a gold medal in Rio de Janiero with new teammates Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, and he tells The Vertical‘s Michael Lee that playing for the national team was good for him.

“It was therapy for me after making a big change in my life,” Durant told The Vertical in the bowels of Carioca Arena 1 about an hour after scoring 30 points in Sunday’s 96-66 victory. “It made my life easier … I knew [a backlash] was coming. It was definitely different for me, but to come here in an environment where people accepted me and didn’t care about anything except being my buddy, that’s what I needed.”

Besides bonding with Green and Thompson, Durant got a chance to play with a roster full of other world-class players, including Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan and Carmelo Anthony, all of whom had other things to worry about besides what it meant that Durant made the decision he made in free agency. By all accounts, this was a very close-knit USA group, and that’s just what Durant needed.