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Kevin Durant: ‘I really don’t give a damn what people got to say’

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The Oklahoma City Thunder find themselves in “foreign territory,” as Kevin Durant puts it. After having its roster decimated by injuries, beginning and ending with Durant’s broken foot during the preseason and Russell Westbrook’s wrist injury in the team’s first regular season game — although the injury issues went deeper than that — the 26-year-old superstar insists that he isn’t expecting any sympathy from anyone, despite the predicament the Thunder are in early on this season.

“I really don’t give a damn what people got to say,” Durant told The Washington Post’s Michael Lee. “I really don’t care if they cut me slack or they don’t. I’m not looking for no sympathy from nobody. I’m not looking for no praise from nobody. It’s all good, either way with me. I just look for respect from teammates as a player and as a man. That’s what I want. All that other stuff, I learned how to tune that stuff out and not worry about. I used to think about it. ‘Are they going to cut me slack? Do they love me if I play this way.’ I really don’t give a damn.”

The Thunder, with all the injuries, currently sit at 7-13 and in 12th place in the stacked Western Conference. Since Durant’s return to the lineup last week, OKC does have a 2-1 record heading into Tuesday’s tilt against the 11-11 Milwaukee Bucks. It is worth noting, though, that the team’s two wins were against the 1-18 Philadelphia 76ers and 3-18 Detroit Pistons, hardly teams that provide a realistic measuring stick to gauge exactly how well the Thunder are playing.

In his three games, Durant has scored 27, 10 and 28 points, so his offense appears to be in reasonable shape, even without playing full minutes as of yet. But if he wants to establish a true legacy, Durant understands scoring a boatload of points while racking up scoring titles and MVP awards won’t cut it. Durant needs to win titles, something he recognizes all too well.

“You can’t please everybody,” Durant said. “I can go out there and average 50 points a game, it’s always going to be something people say. If you don’t like me for it, so what?”

In order to even get into the playoffs mix this season and ultimately into the postseason, it will require a Herculean effort from Durant. And if manages to do so, it likely will be an accomplishment more impressive than another scoring title or MVP award.

(photo credit: Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)