The former Oklahoma City Thunder star is taking it rather hard, repeating criticisms of himself aloud while shooting late after practice on Thursday night.
"They say I ain't hungry! I'm out here!" he yelled. "They told me I ain't have no drive! I'm out here. They called me a coward! Putting in work."
"That's what I say to myself when I'm working," he told Ethan Sherwood Strauss. "I hear it all the time. You hear the noise. You hear what they say about you. Everybody hears it. So it's a little extra motivation when you hear it."
Ugh. Am I the only person that feels this is incredibly forced? If there's footage or an eye witness that suggests Durant regularly insults himself during workouts, I'll happily eat my hat and put this hot take back where it belongs, but this wreaks of a desperate, corny attempt at winning back the fans he lost when he made the league less competitive. It's only been one game and he's resorting to others' doubt to manufacture "motivation."
As corny as this act is, it's hard to blame Durant if he's truly struggling with adjusting to his new surroundings. LeBron James found himself in a similar situation back in 2010.
"Going through my first seven years in the NBA I was always the "'iked one' and to be on the other side—they call it the dark side or the villain or whatever they call it—it was definitely challenging for myself," a season after James signed with the Miami Heat. "It was a situation I had never been in before, and it took awhile … it took a long time to adjust to it."
James won fans back though. Not with corny showings of how much "heart" the cameras just so happened to catch during practice, but by winning consecutive championships and not caring what others think about him.
At the start of the 2012-13, months after winning his first title in Miami, LeBron was asked if he felt "loved again."
“I have no idea,” he said. “And I don’t even really worry about that or even listen to what’s going on. Honestly, I just be me, do me, and let everything else take care of itself.”
It's so early in Durant's tenure with Golden State that obviously he has time to adjust to the media storm he had to know he'd create when leaving Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. It just doesn't seem like that'll happen any time soon when he ends interviews like this: “It’s one game of 82 and you f—-ing guys make me feel like the world’s going to end.”
"Obviously you hear everything," he said earlier. "Season's over, the team is worst team in the league, you thought it was going to be easy. It's one game. I thought, after losing in the playoffs by 30 or beating someone by 30 in Game 1 of the playoffs and you say it's only one game."
If he thinks he's being criticized now, he should wait for his team's first road game. Yes, the media are making too big a deal out of one Warriors loss, but no one is making as big a deal out of it as Durant.