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For Kevin Durant, this has been a time of testing ... on so many fronts

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Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

In the same interview where he revealed he won’t return this season, Kevin Durant spoke to Marc J Spears of the Undefeated about how the death of George Floyd has affected him ... and the nation.

Durant told Spears that what he has seen in the protests which spread from Minneapolis across the country and the world...

“This is about our culture. I’ve seen the care, love and attention we have as a community. With everything going on right now it makes me have a lot of pride.

“We have a lot of stuff on our back, but we keep fighting through. It’s beautiful to see everybody coming together as one right now for what we all believe in, which is equality. The black community always sticks together through tragedy. But to see everybody support us in their own way is cool.”

Durant spoke as well about his involvement with a number of social justice initiatives in the Washington-Baltimore area where he grew up, including the Center for Policing Equity, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Silicon Valley Debug, Open Societies Institute-Baltimore Justice Fund and the Inner Harbor Project.

“A lot of change needs to happen in our world. I have a platform playing in the NBA. With so many people knowing who we are, we can use that to help and give back. It’s as simple as that. We come from these neighborhoods where we see a lot of people run into a lot of obstacles and distractions. There are a lot of stuff holding us back coming out of these neighborhoods and making it to the level that we made it to as far as profession.

“Meeting some of these (successful) people and going across the world and seeing different things, you want to take it back to your neighborhood. A lot of these programs that we partner with have done such a great job of being there every single day to help with these communities. It starts from the ground up. And for things that we want to do, we just partner with them and support.

“There is always enough for everyone if we come together. It’s about being passionate about what you see in your neighborhood and try to change it. You start to gain more resources and knowledge. It’s an evolution as things continue to grow and try to help more people around the world.”

As for his reaction to watching the tape of Floyd’s death, KD expressed his personal feelings and how they fit into the larger context.

“It’s damaging to see another life being taken away from us. Someone with a family. Someone who was a father. A son. A friend. It was just horrible to see, especially coming from people who are supposed to be protecting us. We’re really supposed to feel like we are safe all around. It’s a weird time we are in now.”

He also expressed hope that the NBA community can play a big role in solving the larger issues at hand.

“The NBA has always been in the forefront of social issues and supporting their players. It’s something all the players in the league are talking about. I see a lot of owners and GMs stepping up to the plate.

“Obviously, players are stepping up making it a conversation whether it’s powerful and peaceful protests in their cities, organizing things, programs and pouring back into their communities. They’re using their platforms to tell stories. The state of the world is an evolving conversation that is ever flowing. It is moving in the right direction. This is all we wanted is to see justice for George Floyd and others wrongfully done by the police. But also have a conversation shaping hearts and minds about black people in general. The conversation is moving in a direction of hopefully seeing change.”

Durant spoke as well about his discussions about race with Kleiman, who is white; how his interests have grown during his time in the NBA and how he and his mother are involved in COVID-19 relief efforts, among other things.