by Alex Poletti
In the first photo shoot with free-agent acquisition Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets fans were treated to a surprise, as the All-NBA forward traded in his iconic jersey no. 35, for a sleek no. 7. In an exclusive interview with The Second String, the NBA champ explains that the number represents how many games he expects to play with the Nets in 2020.
“35 has meant a lot to me over my career,” KD explains. “I played with it in college. All 12 years I’ve been in the NBA, I’ve been no. 35. But I knew it was time to make a change. I’m not about living in the past. I’m all about looking towards the future. That’s why my new number is also my goal: trying to get onto the court at least seven times in the next 12 months without reinjuring my Achilles.”
Durant shocked many this offseason by signing with the Nets, after many thought he’d end up across town with the Knicks. However, the lure of playing with best friend Kyrie Irving was too much to pass up on, so the duo both signed max contracts to play in the Borough of Churches.
Although the signing was sweet for athletically repressed Nets fans, they won’t get to see the dynamic pair in action until next season, as Durant is still recovering from his Finals Game 5 Achilles injury.
“I should clarify that when I say year, that accounts for the beginning of the 2021 season as well,” Durant says. “And I’m really being generous here. If I can return by December 2020 and get seven games in, that’s good enough for me.”
Irving, a close friend of Durant, says that while the former Warrior may not know it, the number has added significance for his teammates.
“I know that he thinks 7 just means how many games he’ll play, but there’s definitely more to it,” the guard says. “That’s what is so special about KD, he doesn’t even know what kind of impact he makes. 7 isn’t just how many games he’ll play, that’s how many games we’ll win without him.”
The beauty of sports numerology, as Durant is all too aware, is that it shifts with time. Right now, that number may have just one special meaning for the superstar, but it could grow to symbolize much more with time.
“Right now, that’s all it means, but this upcoming season can change a lot,” Durant says. “Seven could be how many games I’ll play before requesting a trade.”