In the NBA, players' priorities can change as their careers continue, and that's the case when it comes to Phoenix Suns star forward Kevin Durant. Earlier in his career, Durant was concerned with how he was perceived and the legacy he would leave behind, but he says that no longer concerns him.
"I don't care about legacy," Durant said, via The Athletic. "I used to. I used to want to carve out a lane or space in this game for myself that people can remember, but it's become too much of a thing now. It just becomes too much of a focus on other people. What's he done, what's he done? Comparisons. Before, when we wasn't doing all this debating, I cared about it … I'm about to be in the same breath as these top guys. It was big.
"Nowadays, I truly, truly don't care. I truly just want to go out there and produce, be the best that I could be, go home, hang with my family, that's it."
Durant's mindset shifted after he signed with the Golden State Warriors in 2016. The move was heavily criticized and labeled as a cop out. Instead of building his own squad to battle against the then-defending Western Conference champion Warriors, Durant joined the team and created a juggernaut. This move shifted how he was perceived as a player and placed him on the receiving end of a lot of vitriol.
"Once I left to go to the Warriors [in 2016], I figured any logical thing, when it comes to me it's out of the window," Durant said. "When it comes to me, people are not going to think in a logical way or simply look at what I've done and say that's it. They gotta add a narrative to it; they gotta push something to discredit me. Once I left to go to the Warriors, it's been the gymnastics on how to discredit me every step of the way.
"It's like, damn, that's not even fun, no more like engaging with people because y'all aren't even being truthful. You move the goalpost every time, you expect the most out of me, and if I don't reach it, I'm a failure. It's like, what's the problem? I don't throw my s— at people. People want their own experience in the NBA. Their experience is their experience. I can't say anything. I let it be. When some fan says, 'KD, I don't like how you did this.' I can't be upset about that. That's your view and how you look at the league. I just learned how to accept that, move forward, and be the best me."
Learning to block out or ignore detractors is a positive step for Durant, who appeared to be too concerned with outside opinions earlier in his career. Anyone who achieves Durant's success will have plenty of naysayers; ask LeBron James.
When it comes to Durant's legacy, well, that's still being written. Another title with the Suns would undoubtedly bolster his well-decorated resume. But even if he were never to play another game in the NBA, Durant has long established himself as one of the most elite, versatile scorers in league history, and he'll be remembered as such.