Kevin Durant: ‘I don’t need anything in this basketball world to fulfill anything in me’

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Kevin Durant said winning his first championship didn’t fill the void he thought it would.

A common theory: It was because he joined the Warriors, who were already the favorite without him. Even though he seized the leading role on Golden State’s 2017 title team, he took a shortcut to a ring. That might not have been his primary reason for signing with the Warriors, but they undoubtedly made it easier for him to win. It just wasn’t the same as Durant leading the Thunder to a title would have been.

That theory has fueled Durant-to-New York rumors. If he signs with the Knicks then eventually leads them to a championship, nobody will ever doubt his importance to the title.

But does that type of thinking actually fuel Durant?

Durant, in a Q&A with Kerith Burke of NBC Sports Bay Area:

I’m going to ask you this question, and I know people will interpret it as a free agent question, but with your skills and what you’ve accomplished, do you feel the need to “build something” somewhere else? Do you need that for yourself?

I don’t need anything in this basketball world to fulfill anything in me. The NBA is never going to fulfill me. It’s going to make me feel good about all of the work that I’ve put in, but I think those days of me wanting to prove something to anybody or walk around with a huge chip on my shoulder is not my thing.

It wasn’t before, and I felt like I had to program myself to play with a chip on my shoulder, but I’m never good in that situation. I’m more relaxed and letting these days flow. I’m the best version of me.

I don’t feel like I need anything like that to prove who I am. I’ve been in it for too long.

I like that you said, ‘The NBA will never fulfill me.’ That’s really powerful. What are the things that fulfill you?

Being around family. Being around friends. The people who actually love you deep down to your core, who won’t judge you, who will let you grow mentally, physically, you know? Just let you be who you are. I like those environments.

I love to continue to push the limits on who I am as a person. Just the flow of life and the type of people I want to be around, the environment I want to live in.

All that stuff will fulfill me more so than anything … just building toward something that’s sustained when I’m not even here on this earth. My family could be straight when I die. That’s the type of stuff I tend to think about.

I recommend reading the full Q&A. It contains a lot of insight.

I’m particularly intrigued by this line: “My family could be straight when I die. That’s the type of stuff I tend to think about.”

Durant has made known his interest in business. His company is moving to a new office in New York. He’ll make a ton of money wherever he plays, but he maximizes his potential income with the Knicks. Market size matters less than before. It still matters. New York offers a giant platform, one that could help Durant generate wealth to last generations.

To be fair, so could the Bay Area. I wouldn’t be surprised if Durant re-signs with Golden State.

But we’re at least learning more about him and what he prioritizes.