The Oklahoma City Thunder players participated in their exit interviews today just two days after walking away empty handed from the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
Kevin Durant and the Thunder players know that their time will eventually come as long as they continue to work hard. But the taste of losing in the Finals isn’t one they liked either.
On losing in the Finals: “That was a great lesson for us. Sometimes you learn a lot from failures. That’s going to fuel us. Experience really is the best teacher and really does matter at that time. It was a great lesson for us.”
On Thunder-Heat becoming a rivalry: “I hope so. I would enjoy that. That would be fun to make that Heat-Thunder rivalry. I enjoy competing against LeBron James. I enjoy trying to kill him every time down.”
On if he and LeBron could have a Bird-Magic type rivalry: “Well I hope so. I would enjoy that.”
“We don’t have to make any major changes. We don’t have to get a whole new team in here. We just have to stick to what we’ve been doing. We wanted this one. We never accepted us being too young or us waiting our turn.”
On the Olympics: “I might pick up a ball & go hoop tomorrow…My hobby is playing basketball. The Olympics is something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid. I just can’t wait until it starts up.”
On Westbrook: “Russell was great this year at helping everybody out, being more vocal, controlling his emotions a little bit more and just leaving it all out there for the team. You see one of your main guys doing that you don’t have nothing to do but follow it.”
On the 4,000 fans greeting the team at the airport: “It was just amazing to see how many people supported us, especially after a loss. In most cities, that would never happen. That makes us want to get back there and try to win it for them even more.”
On Perkins: “I give him a lot of credit. Most players might have shut it down and called it a season, but he fought. We wouldn’t put our players in a position that would endanger their career, but he was able to play through a lot of pain.”
On his contract talks: “I’m sure in the next couple of days we will sit down and get together.”
On his late-game speech: “At that point, the game was over. Not that I conceded and said we can’t come back from a 25-point deficit. But there’s messages that you can send throughout the game, throughout the season. I thought that was a important message to send.”
On LeBron: “It wasn’t natural what he was doing on the court. You don’t see that often. He was at a special level that I’ve never seen before.”
When asked if money or team success was more important: “This is something special here. A dynasty is being built here. We’re winning, we’re having fun and we’re brothers. The other stuff, you can’t buy it.”
On his contract: “I love it here. I’m just leaving it up to my agent and Sam (Presti). They’ll do a pretty good job of working it out. I’m focused on several other things right now. But when the time is (right), they’ll figure it out and it’ll be done.”