Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant is widely regarded as one of the top two or three players in the NBA. So to hear a player of such high caliber say that he is no longer “obsessed” with winning, it’s a bit alarming.
After Durant led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012, he says he became so obsessed with winning that it took a toll on him and that he took it out on those around him.
“Last year, I was obsessed with it,” Durant told The Oklahoman of winning a title. “Like, I wasn’t going to sleep because I wanted to win so bad. I was screaming at my teammates, at the refs, at the coaches. I got mad because I thought ‘if we have a bad game here, we’re not going to win a championship.'”
Generally, you want you best player to have a strong desire to win. Those types of players usually find ways to get the job done, even if only because of the fear of losing. This same obsession is what has driven players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to multiple championships, but Durant says that he took it too far.
“Like, for me, when I was coming in I was like ‘If I miss a shot, I’m going to miss this shot in Game 6 of the Finals,'” he said in the report. “‘If we don’t play defense this game, we’re not going to play defense in the Finals.’ Like, I was thinking like that. And I was going home and I would get so mad over small stuff. That’s not me. So I was losing myself over what people thought, what other people thought.”
Durant says that this season he’s taking a different approach, and will let the game come to him more and not obsess over getting back to the Finals. He says that when he clears his mind, it will allow him to not compromise himself or his game.
The Thunder need a focused Durant to return to the NBA Finals, this season more than ever. OKC relies heavily on their two stars Durant and Russell Westbrook, and will need both playing at an MVP level simultaneously to maximize their chances of getting back to the Finals. The Western Conference is packed with young, hungry contenders that want their shot at winning a championship, and Durant and co. will have to be at the top of their games nightly or they’ll find themselves falling short of the Finals for the second straight season.
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