Kevin Durant: ‘I don’t have to be Kobe Bryant’

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant listens to a question during a news conference.
(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

When the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs in 2011, Kobe Bryant said any season that didn’t end in an NBA title was “a wasted year of my life.”

A day after the Oklahoma City Thunder were knocked out of the second round by the Memphis Grizzlies, Kevin Durant was asked if he feels the same way.

“Nothing’s ever a wasted year for me. It’s basketball. I’ve grown so much as a man since the beginning of the season. I’ve grown so much as a leader. Nothing is ever wasted,” Durant said Thursday, according to ESPN.


“Of course, the ultimate goal in this league is to win a championship. But I’m never going to say I wasted a year. I’m blessed to even wake up and do something I love every day. So it’s never wasted.”

Durant is 24 years old and has never won an NBA championship. Bryant was 32 years old when he made that comment in 2011, and had already won five NBA championships.

When Durant was further prodded by the media about his relatively relaxed attitude in comparison with Bryant’s, the Thunder star snapped back.

“I don’t give a damn,” Durant said firmly, according to the website. “I’m going to be who I’m going to be. I’m not Kobe Bryant. I’m not Michael Jordan. I’m not LeBron James. I’m not Magic Johnson. I’m me. I’m not going to ever compromise myself, my integrity and what I believe in for winning some basketball games and winning a championship. That’s just not how I was brought up.

“I’m always going to fight for this game I love. I’m going to claw until the last buzzer sounds. And if that’s after a championship then, of course, I’ll be happy. I’m not satisfied just being in this league and losing. I’m going to work as hard as I can to try to get to that mountaintop. I enjoy playing the game. I enjoy being here. But I’m never going to come out to the media and say we wasted a year because we lost a championship. Like I said, I don’t have to be Kobe Bryant.”


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