Durant: Working for his NBA legacy

BOSTON – Nets star Kevin Durant said it “means the world” to him passing Hall of Famer Allen Iverson for 25th on the NBA’s all-time scorers list during the victory of Brooklyn 123-104 over the Celtics here at TD Garden on Wednesday night.

“I mean, it means a world. I dedicated my life to this game at a young age … so I saw all these guys that I like to pass up, ”Durant said after scoring 21 points for the Nets, who improved to a 14-5 leader in the Eastern Conference. .

“I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be in the NBA like them, and have an impact in the league like them. So Iverson, he was the role model for me. One of those guys that I emulated every time I went out and played with my friends. Everything is surreal. I imagined that I would be in the League and I had an idea … but doing it is very special. “

For Durant, the meaning of moving to Iverson is twofold. Not only was he a kid when Iverson first burst onto the NBA scene in the 1996-97 season, but growing up in the Washington, DC area, he landed a front row seat to Iverson’s college exploits in Georgetown. .

Durant said that growing up, even when playing center on his childhood teams, he was still trying to emulate Iverson’s signature crossover.

“I really became a huge Iverson fan, obviously, like everyone else in his rookie year. But seeing him in Georgetown and playing for coach (John) Thompson and all the culture that they built there was a big part of that. ” Durant said. “But once he got into the league, he had players… I was a center, a power forward for my young team, and we were all crossing lengths and double crosses. It influenced a lot of people.

“So getting on the list and being up there with some of the greats on that list is incredible. I have to move on ”.

Durant, who outscored Iverson with his first basket of the game Wednesday night and has a chance to move into the top 20 scorers of all time this season, and the Nets maintained their winning streak recently with his performance against the Celtics (10 -9), who had entered the game with wins in eight of their previous 11 games before losing as many as 29 points to Brooklyn.

Adding an extra layer of satisfaction to Durant’s victory was facing Ime Udoka, the Celtics coach who served as an assistant coach with both the Nets last season and with Team USA under Gregg Popovich this summer. . Durant admitted that there was a “friendly” chat between the two during the game, and that getting a win here in Boston was made even sweeter because Udoka was on the opposite side.

“We were united last year and during the Olympics,” Durant said. “So just speak friendly criticism. I mean, he talks to me a lot. Yeah so it helps, I guess there is competition between the two of us teams. We will all be around at the end of the season.

Leave a Comment