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Kevin Durant admitted he was obsessed with leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a championship last season -- too obsessed.
So even though he had another magnificent season -- scoring 28.1 points per game, and shooting 51 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from 3-point range -- his infatuation with winning a title affected him personally, and he even took it out on others.
"Last year, I was obsessed with it," Durant told The Oklahoman of winning a title. "Like, I wasn't going to sleep because I wanted to win so bad. I was screaming at my teammates, at the refs, at the coaches. I got mad because I thought 'if we have a bad game here, we're not going to win a championship.'"
Those cracks showed up in his demeanor on the court as well, as he was called for 12 technical fouls last season -- far surpassing his total from the previous five seasons combined.
All the while, Durant was feeling that he needed to play perfectly each night and held his team to that same standard.
"Like, for me, when I was coming in I was like 'If I miss a shot, I'm going to miss this shot in Game 6 of the Finals,'" he said in the report. "'If we don't play defense this game, we're not going to play defense in the Finals.' Like, I was thinking like that. And I was going home and I would get so mad over small stuff. That's not me. So I was losing myself over what people thought, what other people thought."
That title chase ultimately fell short when the Thunder, minus injured Russell Westbrook, were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies.
A year wiser, Durant is taking a different approach as the new season nears.
"So I'm not going to let that overtake my mind," Durant told The Oklahoman of his championship chase. "I mean, of course I want to win it, but I'm not obsessed with it. I'm going to put in the work to help my team, but I'm not going to be obsessed with it because that's when I compromise myself, and most of the time it doesn't work out."