BOSTON — Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant became just the 23rd player in NBA history to hit the 25,000-point mark during Sunday’s 126-120 loss to the Boston Celtics. Durant, who finished with a team-high 37 points, offered an honest assessment of his latest record after the game.
« It’s pretty cool, » Durant said. « I should be at 30 [thousand] right now, to be honest. But it’s cool, it’s cool to reach that milestone and be amongst the greats and I just got to keep pushing and keep going and see where I end up. »
Durant would be much closer to the 30,000 mark had it not been for a torn right Achilles suffered in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals that cost him the entire 2019-20 season and a variety of different injuries that have piled up in recent years, including a sprained left MCL that cost him a month and a half of this season. Durant joins Los Angeles Lakers forwards LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony as the only active players in the 25,000-point club.
« Kevin’s incredible, » Nets coach Steve Nash said. « I could sit here for an hour talking about Kevin Durant. And the ability, the sacrifices, the resilience, the passion for the game. That’s what you see out there; obviously someone that has gifts, but someone who has worked to master and refine those gifts endlessly. And he’s come back from some big injuries and continued to play at an equally high level every single time. He’s well into his 30s here — that’s an impressive, impressive résumé and it’s because of all the work on top of the gifts he has. »
Durant became the seventh-fastest member to join the club — hitting the mark in his 922nd game. That puts him behind six legends of the sport: Wilt Chamberlain (691), Michael Jordan (782), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (889), LeBron James (915), Oscar Robertson (917) and Jerry West (920).
When asked about Durant’s latest accomplishment, Nets guard Kyrie Irving dropped the microphone he was holding in his postgame news conference in order to clap for Durant for a few moments.
« I told him in the locker room, 25,000 points, you’re a scholar, » Irving said. « You are an artist. You have clipped history. And will forever be remembered as a legend in our game. And he’s been doing it since he was 19, and there’s a level of admiration I have for my best friend right there, and he just does it in ways that makes it look easy. And even when he takes six weeks off, it looks like he hasn’t missed any time. And that level of work ethic that he puts in, it shows why he’s as great as he is.
« And for me, it motivates me to continue to get my game up and hopefully when I’m done with my career I could be sitting next to him and having 25,000 as well and look back and we just crack jokes on a few championships that we won together. So that’s the goal at hand. »
Durant’s record was the only bright spot on the day for a Nets team that has now lost 17 of its past 20. Despite the losses, Durant remains confident that his team, now 32-33 and in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, can still turn things around with 17 games left in the regular season.
« Concerned and worried, those words, it’s easy to do that, » Durant said. « It’s easy to be concerned, it’s easy to be worried, it’s easy to be pissed off and mad. It’s easy to do that. We can point fingers and blame our season on other things, but let’s just go play. We got another game . We got 17 more and let’s see what happens at the end of them. We just take it a day at a time, man. A day at a time, and I’m confident in this group. »