The Nets came up short of a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals and, ultimately, an NBA title June 19 — a 115-111 overtime loss in Game 7 at Barclays Center against the Milwaukee Bucks — but Kevin Durant does see some positives. While Durant made clear his discontent with not winning, he expressed optimism about what Brooklyn has built in an appearance this past week on Episode 47 of the Boardroom: Out of Office podcast.
“All of that s–t really don’t matter to me,” Durant told longtime manager and Thirty Five Ventures business partner Chris Kleiman. “I’m getting so many congratulations, like, ‘Man, great year,’ like, ‘Did that.’ Like, I didn’t do anything. We lost. Like, you know what I’m saying? So it’s just — I knew I can play. I knew I was nice. I’ve scored 48 before. I’ve had big games before. I made big shots before. So it wasn’t like — it didn’t feel like anything special to me, because we lost.
“But then just the camaraderie we built with the fans, the culture we kind of built around Barclays and just Nets culture in general. People kind of look at the Nets now like — all right, they can be a contender next year. I like that part of it. I was excited about that, going forward.
“And I was excited about that in the regular season. But to be in the playoffs and people see us play in the playoffs, our fans come for some big games in the playoffs — it’s like, it felt pretty solid to start to build a culture, you know what I’m saying? And that’s probably the excitement you’re feeling, too.”
With Kyrie Irving (sprained right ankle) out and James Harden (right hamstring strain) hobbled, Durant gave the Nets a valiant effort — in Games 5 and 7, especially. As a clean slate approaches in 2021-22, Durant embraces the energy around New York City.
“It was fun, man,” Durant said. “Especially with the Knicks playing and us playing … we’ve got two teams in the playoffs and Knicks, Nets fans got a little beef right now because both teams are solid. We’ve got the Madison Square Garden, Barclays beef as well in the city. So it just felt like a lot of energy, man. You look in our stands, you’re seeing superstars there — Beyoncé, Jay-Z, H.E.R., Bryan Cranston … Travis Scott.
“So I’m like, ‘Yo, you see that energy floating around in our building for games like that now. What’s next year going to look like?’ And so, people got that picture in their minds … it’s cool to be a part of that s–t — you know what I’m saying? — and help build that s–t. I felt that like the last few days, leaving the arena and s–t like that. It was fun.”