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Kevin Durant knows all about making unpopular decisions, about prioritizing personal well-being when choosing one’s career path, and about facing the public blowback that often accompanies those choices.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that Durant empathizes with Kyrie Irving, and respects Irving’s decision to force his way out of Cleveland, out of LeBron James‘ shadow, and into a new situation with the Boston Celtics – despite the fact that he’d gone to three straight Finals with James and the Cavaliers.
“I can really appreciate what he did. He stood up for himself. He showed a lot of courage, because it’s hard to take that type of criticism when you just want to play ball.”
Durant, who has said he made “the 100 percent correct decision” signing with the Golden State Warriors last summer, understands why Irving was keen to get out of Cleveland, especially given all the rumors about James’ planned departure after this season.
“When you’re around LeBron James, there’s so much that comes with that,” Durant said. “There’s so much outside distraction and conversations and just noise that comes from being around LeBron James. And Kyrie’s at the point like, ‘Alright, we lost the championship, this whole season’s gonna be about if LeBron’s gonna leave or not. I’m ready for a new challenge.’
“It just felt like he wanted a situation where he could just be free from all of that, and just play. And it’s a perfect system for him in Boston.”