Kevin Durant's decision to join the Golden State Warriors altered the course of the NBA more than perhaps any other move in the past few seasons. It's not hard to see why, as one of the league's three best players joining arguably the league's most talented team is a pretty big deal.
There's been plenty of discussion about Durant's choice, and whether or not it's been good for the league. But until this point we haven't really gotten an in-depth look at the few days of meetings that helped seal Durant's move to Oakland. That's just what we have now, however, as The Athletic's Tim Kawakami dropped a massive oral history of the free agent meetings in the Hamptons back in the summer of 2016.
In the story, he got the key players to open up about those few days -- especially Durant. Unsurprisingly, K.D. was pretty reflective about that time, saying that during that summer he needed "validation from my peers." And the fact that the Warriors' best players all cleared their schedules to meet him in the Hamptons to try and convince him to sign there meant a lot to him. Via The Athletic:
At that time in my career, I didn't know how other people felt about my game. And I knew that I was pretty damn good and I knew I worked extremely hard, but I needed that validation from my peers and teams and GMs, people that are really into the game, to really help me feel good about myself and help me feel confident and let me know that what I was doing was working.
So when they all came, and they all put stuff to the side to come to the meeting, I was like, man, this is amazing. Best team in the league, some of the best players, most accomplished players want me on their team and want what I do, what I bring to the table. It was pretty cool, you know what I'm saying?
Because I'm looking at this whole basketball thing from a kid's perspective. I'm still excited, I'm still learning. So to have that much love in the room for how I play basketball, that's cool. They'll get to know me as a person, I was confident with that. But the basketball side, I was, like, man it's pretty damn cool that people enjoy the way I play and want me to play with them.
It's rare that we get such an introspective look at a big free agency decision from the player themselves -- especially a star as big as Durant. But he has always been one of the most reflective players, and one who clearly absorbs and thinks about what fans and media say about him.
So it's not entirely surprising that he would mention wanting the validation of those he looks up to in the league. That's a very human desire, but not one you usually hear from someone as rich, famous and successful as Durant.