Back home in Washington for a brief reprieve to promote and premiere for family and friends his feature film debut, “Thunderstruck,” Durant also wanted to let it be known that while he won’t turn 24 until late September, the Oklahoma City all-star forward considers himself too much of an essential element of the NBA’s present to be clumped into discussions about its future.
“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. “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.”
Durant explained that he felt he belonged in the discussion of the league’s best since playing in the 2011 All-Star Game in Los Angeles but has mostly kept that sentiment bottled up, because, “I don’t like to talk about myself, but I had to get that out there.”
He probably felt a bit more comfortable after a dominant run this summer for the U.S. Men’s National Team, capped off by his 30-point outburst in the closely contested gold medal victory against Spain. Durant led the team — which featured nine all-stars, including two Finals MVPs and regular season MVPs in Kobe Bryant and LeBron James — in scoring at 19.5 points and set a new American men’s record for most points scored in an Olympic tournament with 156.
“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.”
‘That’s . . . not all who I am’
Durant didn’t take any time to rest after the Olympics, as he was quickly thrust into promoting his new movie, which opened in theaters on Friday. He plays himself in the family comedy, in which he magically swaps basketball talents with a hopeless teenager who becomes the hero of his high school basketball team while Durant and his Thunder founder.