Kevin Durant didn’t consider the Wizards when he was a free agent in part because he accomplished everything he set out to do in the D.C. Metro area, Tim Bontemps and Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post relay.
“I don’t want to open up anything in the past, but I really just didn’t want to play at home,” Durant said. “It was nothing about the fans. Being at home, I was so happy with that part of my life — playing at home, being in front of friends, hanging with friends and family every day. That was a part of my life that has come and gone.
“I was like, I’m trying to build a second part of my life as a man living in a different part of the country, just trying to do different things. I did everything I was supposed to do in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area, I felt. Now it’s time to do something new. I didn’t want to come back. That’s just my thought process behind it. It had nothing to do with basketball, the fans, the city.”
Landing Durant was always a pipedream for the Wizards. Washington did not get a meeting with him in free agency while it watched six other franchises court the small forward.
Durant added that his mother was a major influence on his decision not to come back home. “No disrespect to anybody back at home, but my mom, she wanted me to see the world. She wanted me to see a different part of the country, and she didn’t want it to be a quick flight, either. She didn’t want anybody to be able to just get ahold of me,” Durant said.
Over the course of his career, the 8-time All-Star routinely made visits to his home state of Maryland during his offseasons. It was rewarding to come home and help out the community, but it came with challenges.
“With any athlete, when they’re playing in their hometown, there are advantages and disadvantages,” said Stu Vetter, Durant’s former high school coach. “The disadvantage is, everyone becomes a very good friend very quickly. Your time is in great demand. Your resources are in great demand. And everyone wants a favor.”
Durant visits his home community less frequently now than he did earlier in his career, but the area remains close to his heart. He’s a huge Redskins fan, who believes the team should re-sign Kirk Cousins (you can check out the latest on Cousins and Washington at Pro Football Rumors). Durant considered coming back home after learning about LeBron James‘ decision to return to his home state in 2014 but quickly decided that his own situation was not parallel to LBJ’s.
“I thought about what it might be like,” Durant said. “I thought about it. But it made LeBron’s situation different because he got drafted there. So it was like he was home already, so he knew what it was like. It wasn’t like it was his first time going back. For me, I never played at home. I didn’t know what it would be. I know every time I go back it’s pretty hectic, and I just wanted to focus on basketball and not have to worry about a lot of stuff that comes with being at home.”
“It’s always good going back, but I would rather play in a different city.”