In the Moment

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Kevin Durant, Deputy Publisher - The Players' Tribune

I was the last one out of the tunnel. Before our first regular season game, I wanted to wait a couple seconds and just listen to the crowd. It had been a while since I heard Oklahoma City.

I like the challenge of trying to be in the moment. It’s not easy. We’re all built to want to look back or speed life up. But I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the future. It takes you away from the moment you’re in. This past year, I learned that lesson more than ever. I love to play basketball, so when I had to wear a boot for 14 weeks and couldn’t put up a shot for three months, it brought me to the present real quick. You just have to go through it. Your basketball life is fragile, but that’s also why it’s so meaningful.

I don’t concern myself too much with the past, either. It’s good to learn from it, but if you dwell, you could rob yourself of the focus you need to do the work that’s right in front of you.

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Before this season started, I thought back to our team that lost in the Finals four years ago. We were a really good team, but we were too young to know what we had. We were 23, 24 years old, most of us, and now I can see what our problem was: We were all on our own islands. For me, I didn’t know when to be selfless and when to be selfish. The Heat had been there before and they were more experienced. I still think we could’ve won, but it was a lesson for us. We needed to go through that.

For the last two months I’ve been asked how my body is holding up. I get asked about minutes. I get asked if I am “back.”

I’m asked about my foot.

My foot’s good.

I’m asked about my conditioning.

My conditioning will be there, but that takes a little time. There’s a difference between practice speed and game speed.

I get asked to predict the future, too. But trying to say how our team’s going to do — that’s other people’s jobs. In an 82-game season, getting ahead of yourself is dangerous. That kind of mindset will punish you. The season is a marathon, man. My job is to play ball. My job is to support my teammates and make them better. My job is to help my team win, not tell the future.

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Last month I turned 27, and my friend got me a camera for my birthday — one of those big digital cameras with a nice lens. Growing up, I got cameras as gifts and I always did the same thing: take it out of the box, try it out for a couple days and then never really use it again. But this time — and I don’t know why — I started taking it almost everywhere I went.

Being behind the camera was new for me because I’m usually in front of it. I’ve already gained a lot of respect for photographers because you have to be ready all the time. You never want to miss a shot. I think that’s what I like about it.

Here are some photos I took on a preseason trip to Memphis a couple weeks ago. My favorite is the picture of the guys sitting at the lunch counter at the National Civil Rights Museum. That was a special moment. I like the one of Russ on the plane, too, because you rarely see that guy not moving around.

This is my squad. These are the guys I’m grinding with. Some of them are new to the team this year, and guys like Serge, Russ and Nick have been with me through it all. I’d do anything for these guys. I’m not going to make any predictions about the season, but from what I see already, I like our chances.

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(Photos by Kevin Durant — Click to expand)

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KD Signature on white

Around the World

There are no borders when it comes to basketball. To that end, Kevin Durant is on a three-country European tour, including Madrid, Paris and Berlin, to check out the hoops scene.

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