PHOENIX — For the second straight season, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James used the first pick in the All-Star draft to select Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant for his team. For the second straight year, Durant wasn’t surprised at all.
The exchange came toward the end of a cordial and professional four-minute news conference between Durant and reporters, which is notable given that following a Wednesday night win over the San Antonio Spurs, the usually media-friendly Durant aired out his frustrations with some recent stories about his potential future with the New York Knicks and admitted that he didn’t trust anyone in the media.
Durant, who is regarded as one of the most accessible stars in the game, answered questions and then spent a few minutes visiting with Suns guard Devin Booker after his postgame responsibilities were finished. Warriors teammate DeMarcus Cousins credited Durant with always being able to play at a high level on the floor no matter what kind of distractions he was dealing with off of it.
“It’s a credit to his mental toughness,” Cousins said. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for how much bulls— he deals with on the daily. He has his personal life. He’s probably top-two, top-three guys in the league when it comes to … just dealing with media — him, Bron, maybe Steph [Curry].
“It’s a tough life — always having a camera in your face, never really having privacy. And it’s obvious how much he gets attacked just on the social media, and from a fan standpoint. He deals with a lot, he has a lot coming at him; and he’s still able to block that out and come out and produce on a nightly basis. So that’s a credit to him. Like I said, I don’t feel he gets enough credit for it.”
Durant finished the game with 21 points, eight rebounds,and three assists as the Warriors won for the 14th time in their past 15 games. As for the All-Star Game, Durant took a few playful shots at Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, the other captain in next Sunday’s showcase game in Charlotte.
“Giannis is not from here,” Durant said. “So I understand next year he’ll be better picking his team.”
Curry, who was Antetokounmpo’s first pick, said he was looking forward to going up against teammates Durant and Klay Thompson.
“It’s going to be like training camp practice type when you’re on the second team every once in a while,” Curry said. “It will be fun. I’ll probably have to guard him at some point. Hopefully I’ll know their moves and be able to figure it out.”