There is absolutely no doubt that Kevin Durant is a legend both with the Texas Longhorns and in the NBA. But people still find reasons to doubt and to criticize.
Namely, his decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors last offseason generated plenty of controversy. But as this Nike Basketball documentary shows, he’s still KD even through the noise (warning: the feature is over half an hour long, but well worth it if you’ve got time):
Durant, who stands 6’9 with a 7’0 wingspan, was a bit controversial even in his AAU basketball days. A birth certificate was always required as common sense said Durant must be older than the other kids because he was so tall and so talented.
Rick Barnes, his coach at Texas, makes an early appearance in the film.
“The first time I laid eyes on him was during an AAU event,” he says. “I told anybody that once you seem him play, anyone could see that guy was going to be a great player.”
Durant himself, sporting a ‘Horns t-shirt, claims he didn’t always know he’d play in the NBA. At the same time, he didn’t plan on anything else after the age of nine or so.
“I was humble enough to know that it may not happen, but I was arrogant enough to be like, ‘I have no choice but to make it,’” Durant says.
His first goal was to make the high school varsity team, then to start and to become the team’s leading scorer. Both happened by his sophomore year. Then his goal was to play Division I college basketball. He accomplished that feat in Austin after choosing Texas over schools like Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, and UConn.
He realized, “Holy, s—-, I’m on a nice little trajectory.”
For his part, Barnes had no issue with Durant’s decision to enter the NBA draft after a single season.
“The day that he walked into my room, he cried, he said, ‘Coach, I think it’s time I’ve got to pursue the draft.’ And he had to,” Barnes says. “He should have been the very first pick, that was a no brainer. He wasn’t, but that didn’t matter... You just knew wherever he went he was going to be a difference maker.”
Barnes credits the way Durant was raised and the influence of his early coaches for his NBA success.
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work,” Barnes says. “Somebody forgot to tell him he was talented.”
Check out the rest of the clip for the full story.