Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Q&A with movie star Kevin Durant
By Marc Stein
DALLAS -- Tired?
Why would Kevin Durant be tired?
So what if he had to rush from the NBA Finals to Team USA training camp in Las Vegas less than two weeks later and then start promoting his new movie almost immediately after returning from a month in Europe that culminated with a gold-medal game even closer than the United States feared it would be?
"I'm 23," Durant said Tuesday at a news conference in Dallas in advance of Friday's regional release of "Thunderstruck."
"I can handle a lot. This Is what I signed up for. ... It's a good problem to have."
Sitting between his mother, Wanda Pratt, and veteran actor Jim Belushi -- both of them co-stars in the new Warner Bros. release -- Durant spoke excitedly about his attempts to make Oklahoma City "more and more Hollywood" after much of the filming was done in OKC, which was also the site of Sunday's premiere.
And before the news conference, Durant sat down with ESPN.com for a few minutes of one-on-one to discuss a variety of pertinent topics:
Q: Everyone seems to be impressed with your acting skills. Sounds like you did pretty well for a first-timer.
A: Yeah, I did all right. I was having fun with it. It was different for me. I'm just so used to playing basketball. But it was cool.
Q: Have you seen the whole movie start-to-finish by now?
A: I watched it for the first time Sunday and I was very impressed. Before I only saw the scenes that I was in. It was sort of like a surprise to me when I saw it the first time. Very cool.
Q: It's only been about a week since the Olympics and here you are on a press junket for your movie. What are your plans for the rest of the summer? Is there any rest in there, or now will we start to see you popping up at pickup games like last summer?
A: I think I'm just going to work out, get my cardio back up. If anybody knows me, I probably won't stop [playing]. But I'm going to have to force myself, too. I know rest is very important, just as important as getting better on the basketball court. I gotta make sure I get my proper rest [to be] ready for the start of training camp.
Q: To know that Serge [Ibaka] just re-signed, how reassuring is that?
A: It's a really big deal. I'm happy for him, first of all, him and his family. He worked so hard to get that [extension] and I'm just excited that he's signed on for four more years and really believes in us.
He easily could have said no, waited for next summer, played well this year and got more [money]. But he sacrificed for us and we appreciate him for that. He's the ultimate team player.
Q: But you know us in the media. We're always going to talk about what happens next and that means James Harden's deal. How involved will you get in trying to make sure that James stays?
A: I want James to be here with us, of course. He's one of my closest friends. Hopefully it works out, that's all I can say.
I haven't asked [Thunder GM] Sam [Presti] about anything and I haven't asked James about anything. I'm just going to let that take care of itself, be the best teammate I can be and hopefully by the time camp starts we have him locked up.
Q: But he has a lot of incentive to wait until the summer to become a restricted free agent. How worried will you be if there's no extension [by the Oct. 31 deadline]?
A: I'm not a big worrier. I always believe things are going to be all right and that everything's going to work out on its own.
Q: So I guess that means you're not worried about the Lakers. Are the Thunder still the favorites in the West?
A: Who knows? It's different every year. What we did last year is out the door, though. We can't bring that into the new season. The target is going to be on our back, just like it has been for the last two years.
Q: How nervous were you that you guys could actually lose the gold-medal game to Spain?
A: I wasn't. Because we had so many guys that can change the game with one play. We got the Kobes and LeBrons and Melos and CP3s and D-Wills and Russells. We knew that team was going to be bigger than us and we knew they were going to pound it down low to try to beat us, but it feels really good, just to see how well we came together as a unit and how happy everybody was for each other.
I remember when Melo went on that tear and he scored 37 points in 14 minutes, everybody was so excited for him. Everybody was happy that he broke the [American] scoring record [in the Olympics]. When LeBron got his triple-double, guys in the locker room were so happy for him. It was just fun to be a part of. You could tell that everyone was just focused on team.