Durant says Kaepernick Changed His View Of Being Black In America

Durant says Kaepernick Changed His View Of Being Black In America

On Monday, November 27, the Golden State star sat down for an interview with San Jose’s Mercury News. In the piece, Durant discussed his 10 year history in the NBA and the state of race-relations across the country. Durant told writer Logan Murdock that he’s had an “awakening” since moving to the Bay area:

“Just kind of seeing how rough it is for an average black manů I see how far we get pushed down. For me, I kind of grew up in this basketball world, where my talent kind of overrides what I look like. I didn’t have it as rough when it comes to that, as far as social or systematic oppression or any social issues. They didn’t really apply to me because I could put a ball in a basket. Just me saying that kind of woke me up a little bit, like “Damn, that’s all I’m good for?” Like, if I wasn’t a basketball player, what kind of man would they look at me as, you know what I’m saying?”

KD also credited the shift in his outlook to Colin Kaepernick and hi anthem protests:

[Kaepernick] definitely put me in a different place because we just started talking about stuff that’s always been going on. You tend to just focus on what you know, or focus on what you do every day, and sometimes you can be so far removed from where you grew up or from home that you don’t realize what’s going on back there…

He touched something in people that we didn’t know was there. I posted a picture of him on my Instagram, and the comments under that were ridiculous. The stuff that people were saying about him over that was ridiculous. He brought something out of people that they’d been hiding for a long, long time that needed to be revealed. I’d rather you tell me that you don’t like me because of my skin than hide that sh-t. So he kind of touched a nerve and the outrage from it made me a fan of him”

Like many NBA players, Durant has become more politically active over the past two years. In July of 2016, Carmelo Anthony organized a summit in South Central Los Angeles bringing together athletes, police officers, community activists and 80 teenagers from the surrounding area. That summit was another subject that KD touched on during his Mercury News interview:

So many people told stories, so many young kids as well who live it every day… It’s just like, now, especially with social media and so much access to everything, you’re seeing what’s going on in your neighborhoods now, whereas I could avoid all of that when I was a kid, I didn’t have to worry about all that, I didn’t have to see it every day, scroll it on my phone, see somebody get shot by police, or somebody getting brutally murdered. I didn’t have to see that sh-t if I didn’t want to. They’re living a rougher life but, throughout that summit, it was more like, “Let’s come to a solution. How can we make this police-citizen relationship better?”
You can check out the full interview (“Kevin Durant’s epiphany“) to hear more of his thought on the subject, including the history of political activism in the Bay Area and why he has so much respect for Tupac.
[Photo via Flickr user Gameface-Photos]