As Durant made clear in a wide-ranging interview that came days before his 26th birthday, this is his new norm: real, unfiltered, and — surprising though it might be for those who know only the “Mr. Nice Guy” side of who he is — occasionally profane. From his free agency future to his decision to not take part in Team USA over the summer to the notion that LeBron James is still the best player on the planet, Durant was uncensored in ways that we haven’t seen in years past.
It is, as he explained, all part of a personal evolution that is clearly liberating for him.
“I just realized that I’m just trying to be myself,” Durant said. “When I’m upset, now I feel comfortable being upset. It’s cool that I can be upset. I may cuss one time in an interview, or I may yell at my teammates. And it’s all right. I understand that it’s cool for me to be that way because that’s me. I’m human, and I have times when I’m upset. I think that’s what people didn’t see.
“It’s like I keep saying: I’m human. Some people look at professional athletes like superheroes and nothing is supposed to affect us. But sometimes it does, and sometimes I go off.”
Was Durant expressing genuine feeling on issues with multiple layers? Or was he just running back to the safety of the middle?
Either way, once again, Durant says he’s going to be himself.
Durant, via Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:
“Man, whatever I say is going to be twisted up,” he said after going through a 90-minute practice. “So I can’t . . . I’m just going to say how I feel from now on. People that know me know what I mean, so it is what it is. Anything I say will be twisted up and be a headline. So it is what it is.”
The key phrase here is this: “I’m just going to say how I feel from now on.”
The interpretation is that Durant in the past generally had, out of discretion or propriety or personal etiquette, taken measures to avoid sheer honesty.
And maybe he had. Durant for most of his career has been portrayed by friends and associates as someone sensitive to his image as well as that of those close to him. They say he’s a quality individual who occasionally is susceptible to saying the safe thing to avoid further probing or scrutiny.
I’m leery of someone having to reset his public image as an honest representation of himself multiple times.
But being in the spotlight like Durant is tricky, and he deserves room to explore how he presents himself.
His new (new?) approach seems to be taking hold. Admitting he was happy the Warriors lost in the Finals? That’s pretty real.