OAKLAND — Practice is over, as are his primary media obligations for the day. And now Kevin Durant is strolling over and plopping into a chair to talk with NBCSportsBayArea.com about himself and his game and the upcoming NBA Finals.
The Finals are hours away, marching hard toward the Warriors, breathing on every member of the organization, no one more than Durant.
Durant is feeling this as much or more than anyone else. He has spent the better part of his 28 years not so much chasing a ring but stalking ultimate professional confirmation and the approval that comes with it.
Stephen Curry already has his, as do Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. They got theirs in 2015, beating the Cavaliers in six games.
LeBron James has it, too, with multiple MVP trophies as well as multiple championship rings, his most recent coming last June when he was instrumental in Cleveland overcoming a 3-1 deficit to beat the Warriors.
Durant wants his, wants it now, and he knows that means going through the Cavaliers. Going through James, one of the few players against whom he measures himself.
“I believe in obsession for the game and being paranoid,” Durant says. “I think all the good ones are really paranoid. That’s something I realized about myself.
“But I don’t want to go out there and overthink and be too obsessive about something, instead of just letting it flow and being nervous about whether this guy might be working harder than me or taking the game more seriously than I am. That’s the paranoia I’m talking about. If I get my work in, and you do, too, that’s cool. But I can’t let you get your work in and I don’t put mine in. That bothers me.”
There was a time, you see, when Durant’s paranoia got the best of him. That may have been the case in 2011-12, when Durant’s Oklahoma City team faced James and the Miami Heat in The Finals. If Durant was paranoid before that series, he was almost manic afterward.
No longer, he says, citing the…