OKLAHOMA CITY (CBS SPORTS) – There has always been a distinct humility about Kevin Durant. He’s always heaped praise on teammates and coaches and never himself. He’s always deflected questions about his superstardom to something else.
Durant has gone so far with it that often it’s almost reached an annoying level. Like, “Come on man, you’ve got to know you’re good.” The humility is genuine. It’s real. Kevin Durant may be playing “Kevin Durant” in his new movie, but he’s no actor in real life. He’s a kind, genuine, unselfish and humble person.
But he’s dropping a bit of that aw shucks manner and finally taking ownership of rise to the NBA’s Mount Rushmore of current stars. “I’ve heard a few times, in three or four years, this league is going to be yours… I don’t like that. Because I think I’m established now. My time is now,” Durant said in an interview with the Washington Post. “I feel as though I’ve proved myself these last five years that I can be one of the top players in the league. I’ve got a long way to go to being the ultimate best, but I think my time is now. And I’m starting to enter my prime.”
That’s quite a departure from a guy that didn’t consider himself a star a couple years ago and even still after winning All-Star Game MVP last season.
Maybe it’s because he reached the near pinnacle of the game by playing in the Finals last season. Maybe it’s because he was the go-to scorer on one of the greatest teams ever in the Olympics this summer. Maybe it’s because of the All-Star appearances, the scoring titles, the All-NBA teams, and on and on. Maybe he’s finally figuring out what we’ve all known for a while. Or maybe he’s finally just ready to admit it.
“I always felt that I belonged on top with those guys and I just have to continue to keep working to maintain that,” Durant said. “It feels good to be a part of a great group of guys, to do something special for the country. We all respected each other and they never looked at me as the younger guy coming up and waiting his turn. They were just, ‘Go out there and play, do what you do.’ And that’s what I did.”
Don’t confuse Durant’s change in tone though. There’s a difference between humility and confidence. And Durant has never lacked in the latter.
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