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Kevin Durant’s ‘Dark Place’ Means Bright Performances on the Court

Last Updated: September 29, 2022
Kevin Durant discusses how his in-game mentality helps fuel his success — but doesn’t define who he is — in this week’s episode of Boardroom’s “The ETCs” podcast.

Click here to listen to the full episode.

Since his return from injury this month for the Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant has averaged 30.8 points per game on astounding 55.1/41.5/92.4 shooting percentages.

In that time, KD has also racked up two technical fouls and a hefty $25,000 fine for an exchange with a fan that went viral.

There’s a certain kind of edge to Kevin’s game — both in performance and in attitude. But according to the man himself, that’s a good thing and it’s hardly a new development at all.

“I’ve always had that mentality of ‘I’m the skinniest guy, somebody’s gonna bully me, or try to bully me,'” Kevin said on the latest episode of Boardroom’s “The ETCs” podcast. “I had to play with that chip on my shoulder. An edge. I think we all wanna play with an edge. The anger kind of brings the best out of us, you know what I’m saying?”

For the normally stoic Durant, the court has become his place to release that tension and exhale. And he likes the game better that way.

“I try to tell myself that I’m better when I’m more joyous and happy and smiling,” Kevin said. “That’s a cool part of me, too. But I feel like it’s more fun when I play angry. ‘Cause I’m more focused and I wanna get the job done, and I wanna do my best.”

The challenge, according to Kevin, is honing that energy in on the right goal night in and night out

“I really value the Ws. When you feel like somebody’s trying to take something from you, you get a little defensive,” Kevin said. “That’s the approach we all have when we really wanna win something. I feel it in my teammates and my opponents, too. So, sometimes I may take wanting to win too serious. I might cuss a fan out or curse a ref out because I feel like they get in the way of what I’m trying to do. But in reality, I’m just getting in my own way, you know?”

And the final obstacle, of course, is decompressing afterwards. That’s process Kevin says can take hours.

“There’s a mental game that you’re playing out there, when you think back on it. It’s fun to go through that stuff (and) realize how many emotions you put into something,” Kevin said. “I just gotta decompress, like… put in the next couple hours. Replaying shit that went on… Just, like, everything. Just watching film back in my head.”

For Kevin, that film and those replays are the best form of decompression possible. No matter the time or the place. Even the club in the wee hours of a Friday night in New York.

“I just had to see what I was doing all day,” Kevin said through a laugh, recalling watching the highlights of a recent 38-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers during a night out afterwards.

“I gotta see the buckets I put up.”

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