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Durant planned for this title months ago in picking Warriors

first_imgKevin Durant, Stephen Curry lead Warriors to NBA title11K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 OAKLAND, California— They made their group plea to Kevin Durant last summer, Stephen Curry and the core of the Golden State Warriors traveling cross-country to go at a prized free agent the only way they do it around here: with “Strength in Numbers.”Durant didn’t really need a hard sell that day in the Hamptons. He chose Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and a chance at his first championship over returning to Oklahoma City. Scorned and scrutinized from every angle for that decision, Durant triumphantly raised his arms and an MVP trophy Monday night all these months later— beaming as a first-time NBA champion, just as planned.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant gestures as he holds the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award after Game 5 of basketball’s NBA Finals between the Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland, Calif., Monday, June 12, 2017. The Warriors won 129-120 to win the NBA championship. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Durant and Curry were always right in the middle, yet they stayed loose and focused by building their own relationship — not to mention shooting skills — through regular shooting contests that were oh so close.READ: Warriors finish off Cavaliers in 5 games, regain NBA title “The way that he embraced the opportunity in the Finals, it was unbelievable,” Curry said. “It’s kind of crazy to think about the conversations we had this summer and going into the year about how we can both mesh and do what we do and be the players that we are and (to) see it come to life in this series, it was unbelievable.”Durant, an eight-time All-Star who only needed a ring to cement his superstar status, scored 39 points in a championship-clinching 129-120 victory and averaged 35.2 points and 8.4 rebounds in these Finals.“I’m just happy for him. He’s had an amazing career, but he just took it to the next level,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was incredible all season long. He had an amazing series, just dominated. Everybody for the last 10 years knew how good he was, but until you break through and win that first championship, there’s always still something there. I’m just so happy Kevin has broken through. And there’s more to come from him.”ADVERTISEMENT Michael Jordan’s 1984 Olympic games Converse shoes sold for $190K Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guidecenter_img What ‘missteps’? WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage READ: Durant makes his mark in Game 1 of NBA Finals for Warriors Durant came back late in the regular season from a 19-game absence with a left knee injury, then dealt with a tender calf early in the playoffs. Still, he insisted he had another notch to raise his game, and he certainly found it. He dramatically drove and dunked on Cleveland’s defense, knocked down big 3-pointers and blocked shots while handling the load of defending King James.Ten years after becoming the No. 2 draft pick behind Greg Oden, Durant has reached the pinnacle. Whenever he is asked about his own accomplishments, he is always quick to offer a reminder just as he did with a new NBA champions hat on his head: “It’s a team sport.” He can’t do it alone.“I can’t believe it, but I have to,” Durant said recently of where he is after a decade. “I’m really proud where I am right now as a player and being as consistent every year as I’ve been. That’s something I talked about coming into the league, wanting to do it year in and year out. I’ve been able to accomplish that individually. But this is not an individual sport. So I’ve also realized that as far as becoming more of a team player, since my first year I’ve grown so much and I’m proud of myself in that area as well, but I’ve got a long ways to go.”READ: Durant makes his mark in Game 1 of NBA Finals for WarriorsThis is a major start. For those guys in the Hamptons recruiting Durant that day and all the others, they can’t wait for more.“We felt like Kevin could come in and help us and, like I said, make it all complete,” Green said. “And he showed that. Finals MVP, 4-1, world champions. Doesn’t get much better than that.”RELATED VIDEOGolden State Warriors celebrate NBA Championship2.5K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 He hugged mother Wanda many a time. And Curry, too. Even LeBron James, celebrating the fight and brilliance they each demonstrated during an entertaining back-and-forth basketball show in this Finals trilogy. Golden State in 2015, the Cavaliers last year, the Warriors again this time.READ: Kevin Durant’s menacing defense leads the way for WarriorsFEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I hear all the narratives throughout the season that I was joining, I was hopping on bandwagons, I was letting everybody else do the work,” Durant said. “But then that was far from the truth. I came in and tried to help my team. Like I said, tried to be myself, be aggressive and sacrifice as well.”For all that chatter about chemistry on a super-team — some called them “supervillains” — how there might not be enough shots for all the big-time scorers, the Warriors kept winning as the world watched the every move of the East Bay franchise under a microscope. 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