One of the NBA‘s biggest stars, Kevin Durant, talked about a number of different issues, such as race and his impact as an NBA player, in an interview with San Jose Mercury News‘ Logan Murdock on Monday, Nov. 27.
In a nutshell, Durant talked about finding more of an identity since becoming a member of the Golden State Warriors … among so many other issues.
Per the Mercury News article:
Finally waking up, to be honest. Just kind of seeing how rough it is for an average black man, you know what I’m saying? And on top of that, a black man makes one mistake…I see how far we get pushed down. For me, I kind of grew up in this basketball world, whereas my talent kind of overrides what I look like.
I didn’t have it as rough when it comes to that, as far as social or systematic oppression or any social issues. They didn’t really apply to me because I could put a ball in a basket. Just me saying that kind of woke me up a little bit, like “Damn, that’s all I’m good for?” Like, if I wasn’t a basketball player, what kind of man would they look at me as, you know what I’m saying?
In terms of what value can I bring to you outside of playing basketball. I bring a lot of value to people as far as how I treat them, how I encourage them, how I just try to be a good person to them. I feel there’s like a lot of black men that have those traits, but they often just get stereotyped or judged off of one incident or not given a second chance.
So if I find something that’s empowering to people that look like me, I just try to send a subtle message that I got your back and I hear you and I try to inspire you as much as I can from just being in this world as a black man coming up, even though I was looked at and viewed a little differently for it. But I’m still a black man. I understand where you’re coming from.
Since becoming a member of the Warriors (the 2016-17 season was his first year with the team), Durant has not only helped Golden State win its second title in three years but he has also been crowned the NBA Finals MVP.
This season, he has helped lead the Warriors to the second-best record in the Western Conference at 15-6. Not to mention, Golden State is the favorite to come away with the championship hardware at season’s end (again).
As Murdock pointed out, Durant was “born in the height of the crack epidemic in D.C.”
Man, as a basketball player, it’s a thing in my neighborhood. Like, East Coast, if you’re a basketball player, people know you as that, they know you’re focusing on basketball. Nobody really tried to get me to be in the street life because I was either always walking to the gym or I was always in the gym. I had friends that got into bad sh-t, as far as drugs, as far as hanging around the wrong crowds, as far as just trying to make money some way, because we’re stuck. It’s not necessarily a fact that we’re so in love with the bad sh-t, or the stuff that’s illegal, it’s just like, our people are taught to survive. So if you put us in a neighborhood, no resources, no help, nobody to just be there for us … what else can we do but make us some easy sh-t to make us some money? My mom grew up on that, my brother grew up on that…
More from the Mercury News article mentioned above:
Yeah, man, yeah. I mean … you feel for those people who don’t know what they’re passionate about, don’t have any true inspiration around them, true role models to look at. That’s why I feel like it’s so important for me to represent where I come from because for kids, just to say, you know, “He walked on the same streets I walked on, he playing on TV. He on the cover of GQ. People know who he is. He out there actually doing something he love every day, in front of millions of people.” I know for sure that it inspired somebody. Even if they don’t play ball, even if they’re just trying to look for a way to get out of Maryland or get out of PG County. Well, we got somebody who did it, we’re seeing it every day, and it makes me just walk around with pride.
You can read the entire interview here.