Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons unfiltered interviews

Jordan Stephenson

South Bureau Chief

ESPN staff writer, Nick Friedell, was tasked with interviewing, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons, one on one, to discuss wide-ranging topics. As I was reading all three interviews, I realized immediately that the interviews were extremely candid, and all three stars were as vulnerable as they would ever become. Fast forwarding to now, those things facilitated their leadership roles, to help the Nets team chemistry. Also, to exude trust in their teammates, to eventually work towards winning a championship this year. 

Friedell first interviewed Simmons and asked, how much are you looking forward in reminding people how good you can be? Simmons responded by saying, “I can’t wait, I’m excited to do that because I know what I’m capable of. It’s patience; it’s doing the little things, working everyday, and getting back there.” Another question Friedell asked was, on media day you discussed your confidence and mental space. How would you describe the work you put in? Simmons said, “It’s taken a lot of work, but that’s apart of my life, everyday routine now; it’s working on myself, and staying in that place.” At the end of the interview, Simmons said, “Me and Ky literally were just talking about it before practice. He’s like ‘Why is everybody on our heads?’ F—-, we’re interesting people I guess.” 

Next Friedell interviewed Irving, and asked, how do you block out the noise about this extension? Irving said, “Well I’m only as great as my team and the individuals around me, and they keep me very grounded and balanced, in terms of what my goals are.” Another question that Irving was asked, what is it like having it back again, on a full-time basis, and it never left you? Irving said, I don’t ever leave it (Laughs), I go everywhere with it; yeah, the love…, that’s part of being in a relationship.” “Time is all we have. I’m having kids. I have three beautiful kids now; I have my wife; my life has changed.” “My priorities definitely changed, but the love has always been a battle that is worth climbing, that is worth going on that mountain for.” 

At the end of the interview, Irving discussed his relationship with Simmons, and some of the advice that he has given him. Irving said, “I feel like it’s my responsibility to protect him, but I also must understand, he has to go through things on his ow,; and when he asks for help, just be there for him…” “Just dealing with the ebbs and flows, I just don’t want to see him get caught up in the same nonsense.” 

Lastly, Friedell interviewed Durant, and asked, why didn’t things splinter apart after all the Kyrie stuff, and why have you guys come back together now when things could’ve easily exploded? KD said, “We were together regardless, coming into training camp we understood that it was going to be a lot on us, from a media standpoint; the noise in general, around outer team; so I think that made us tighter when Cam started.” KD also said, “We started to win games, started to get better as a team, do something out there that works for us; now it seems like everything was patched all together, but it felt like it was cool, to be honest.”

Another question Friedell asked was, over the summer, when you decided to come back, why were you so confident that you guys still could compete for a championship? KD said, “I don’t even look at s—- that way, my whole thing was like, are we, does the process matter to us”? KD added, “That’s one thing I did know that people here enjoy, grinding, so that was the most important thing for me; titles and stuff come with the process in which you – – how you prepare.” “It was more so, all right are we going to practice harder? Are we going to pay more attention to detail? Not just everybody else, all of us, me included. Is that going to be preached to us every day”? KD also said, “I had faith that that would happen because I voiced that throughout the summer as well, they understood what I value; that’s what I was hanging my hat on, the preparation side of it.”

KD, Irving, and Simmons discussing their game plan details; Courtesy of Sarah Stier