WASHINGTON D.C. -- Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder make their only visit to the nation's capital on Tuesday to play the Washington Wizards, and though free agency is still eight months away, the former MVP was flanked by an abnormally large media contingent, and he took plenty of questions about playing in his hometown, and his future.
"I just try to go about every day, just focus on one day," Durant said. "I don't think about the future too hard. I'll worry about that stuff when I get there. I've been saying 'I don't know' for a long, long time, but I'm really just focused on our team, happy I'm playing again, and that kind of takes over."
"I haven't thought about that," he said of free agency. "I'll worry about that when I get there. I'm just excited I get another opportunity to play in the NBA tonight and play against a great team."
Following the Thunder's game on Sunday, Durant said he found the reception he got in D.C. last season to be "disrespectful," with fans bringing signs begging him to sign and wearing Wizards jerseys with his name on them.
"It was cool to see all my family there, but if our team did that to somebody coming in our arena, I wouldn't like it," Durant said Monday. "So, I didn't really like it. We played a really good team in the Wizards, a great team with great young talent and a good coach. I think that was disrespectful."
Asked Tuesday to clarify what he meant, Durant said that as a player, he would feel insulted if he was on the home team and the team's fans were campaigning for an opposing player.
"I'm not saying anything is wrong with the fans, just me, I'm thinking as a player," Durant said. "On the other side, I wouldn't like it. But the fans are going to do what they're going to do. I appreciate all the support that gets thrown our way, but I'm just looking at it as an opposing player, if I was on that team and they came in here and did that, I wouldn't like it. But the fans, they support us, throughout the whole league they make the league what it is, so it's nothing against them, I'm just talking as a player."
Durant grew up in nearby Seat Pleasant, Maryland, and said he always enjoys coming back to the area to play in front of friends and family.
"It's a great feeling just knowing I walked these streets and grew up here and can inspire so many kids that have the same dreams I had," Durant said. "It means a lot coming back playing here because I remember as a kid catching the train down here to watch the Wizards and the Mystics and Georgetown play all the time, and to be able to walk onto that court as an NBA player, it shows the journey I've been on and hopefully more kids behind me will do the same thing."
With a young core centered around John Wall and Bradley Beal, plus the allure of playing in the Eastern Conference, which is perceived to be easier, the Wizards are seen as a contender for Durant's signature when he becomes a free agent next July. But on Tuesday, they're the opponent, which is what Durant says he's solely focused on. Even with the expected circus that will be happening around him, he's locked in on the game to play.
"I think I'm really, really good at not being distracted," he said. "It's kind of easy being home, my family's here, so many people want to come see me play. Once I just focus on the game, and know I have a basketball game I have to worry about, it makes everything a little easier. Plus my mom is like superwoman, so she's taking care of everything."