- The Warriors are closing in on dynasty status—but they’re still keeping things loose amid all the pressure, drama and rumors. Here are some outtakes from a roundtable with Steph, KD, Klay, Iggy and S. Dot.
Like most dynasties throughout history, the sports versions are not built to last. We may profess great love for the towering teams, flush with talented athletes, that win multiple titles and set a standard of excellence. But the system is set up for parity. Teams are restrained by salary caps. The lowliest teams get the highest draft picks. The best teams get the shortest off-easons. But the real wrecking ball is human nature. Ego, jealousy and money make for a formidable front line.
You might say that the Golden State Warriors have pushed back against these forces. They've reached two straight NBA Finals….and then signed Kevin Durant? They reached four straight NBA Finals….and then signed Boogie Cousins? They are already valued, conservatively, at $3.5 billion….and they then build a palace of an arena, awash in new revenue streams, in billionaire-besotted San Francisco?
Still, even the mighty Warriors have confronted challenges this season from inside and outside the kingdom. The grind of the 82-game season is compounded by the media crush and the sense that every team summons their best against them. The present is clouded by concerns about the future. Will Durant re-sign or resign is a storyline that has grown legs and a tail, coloring the entire season.
60 Minutes recently spent a week with the Warriors as they try to fend it all off and solidify their dynasty status. This was an examination of perhaps the most dominant franchise in sports today, but also an examination of the perks and pressures that come with a team of this magnitude in general. The full episode airs Sunday evening on CBS, following the Masters, and on 60minutes.com.
Here are some outtakes from a roundtable with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. (Lightly edited and condensed for clarity).
Jon Wertheim: You guys are five veterans. What's the difference between the regular season and the playoffs?
Kevin Durant: Real basketball.
Stephen Curry: Uh-huh
JW: You have a new player, like, DeMarcus who comes in, what do you do to integrate him? You guys have this special bond here. How do you integrate a new player?
Curry: Hmmm. I think it's just being consistent with everybody being who they are. You don't have to switch up anything. He's extremely talented guy who wants to figure it out, who wants to win. Knows he can help us do that. So in terms of how his whole rehab process and him staying engaged, he did that on his own. He understands, the sense of urgency of the moment. And now that he's back on the floor, it's just about getting us as comfortable as possible and making sure we know everybody's valuable to what we do.
JW: But you guys have built something really sacred here. How do you make sure that the fellowship stays?
Klay Thompson: I mean, I think it'll stay for life. You know, when you win with someone at the highest level, you always have those memories, So I don't think of our relationship will change down the line. I mean, goin' back to my dad, I know he's still cool with all his teammates he won with. And it'll be the same thing when we see each other in 30 years for the anniversary. I remember seeing the '75 team come back, you know, a few years ago, last year, too, I think. And see guys like Jamaal Wilkes, Rick Barry, and rest in peace, Nate Thurmond. You know, all the legends who still are, you know, held to such a high regard by Warriors fans, It’s so cool. And that'll be us in 20, 30 years, hopefully. And that's what I look forward to.
JW: When people ask what’s it like to play for Coach Kerr, what do you tell them?
Durant: He goes to the side. He understands that he has a bunch of guys with high I.Q.s so he doesn't really get in the way too much, letting us be who we are. But at the same time, he preaches discipline. [He’s] teaching every single day ….and we enjoy that study of basketball. And I think that he has great qualities when it comes to that.
JW: Steph, you’re nodding…
Curry: You haven't seen him break a clipboard.
JW: He's broken a clipboard?
Curry: Oh, yeah
Thompson: Not just one.
JW: What happened?
Curry: Plenty of 'em. No, he just gets frustrated through the clipboard when we’re not doing what we're supposed to do. But obviously he’s played for other great coaches in his career, he's seen Phil Jackson and he's seen Gregg Popovich. He understands the height of the coaching profession. But he tries to do it his way. He understands the talent he has, but trying to just put us in the right position to be successful and do what we do on the court.
JW: Does it matter to you guys that you're well liked?
Curry: We like winning. So whatever comes with that, that's what we enjoy the most. Narratives pop up out of nowhere and you're forced to deal with them or not. And how much, you know, we are in front of the world in terms of games that matter, playing in the Finals year after year, all that type of stuff, that just comes with the territory a little bit. So it's a matter of perspective, how you deal with it.
Thompson: I think so. I think people like when we play. It's exciting. The ball moves. I mean, we got a guy who can score from anywhere, a guy who shoot from anywhere. Dudes who can fly over the rim. I know the kids love playin' with us in 2K, so I think we’re still cool amongst the youth.
JW: Would you guys have liked this team?
Andre Igoudala: For sure.
JW: Young NBA fan, Kevin Durant, what would you have said about the Warriors?
Durant: I grew up shootin' the ball. So, you know, to see guys flyin' around shootin' three-pointers and have six, seven point guards that can post-up, like, the way I wanna play and then athletes like we have. I mean, I’d be fielding to play on this team if I was a kid, you know? Just wanted to play that style.
JW: You too, Klay? You would have liked this team as a kid?
Thompson: Absolutely. I mean, I usually like the best teams in sports. When I was kid, I was a frontrunner. I just loved the best teams. I liked the Vikings when they had [Randy] Moss. The Lakers were them at the time I was a kid. And I'm sure I would've loved the Warriors as well.
JW: All week I keep hearing this term, "Super Team." What do you guys think of that phrase?
Shaun Livingston: I don't buy into all the chatter. It doesn't really affect me personally. But that just comes with—you know, like Steph said earlier, comes with being in front of the world at this stage and platform.
JW: What's going on with this team that people aren't necessarily getting on TV or on YouTube. I mean, what makes this special that people at home might not pick up on?
Curry: That's Klay.
Thompson: You kinda see what you get. The ball goes in the hoop a lot. [Laughs] Have fun while you're doin' it. You'll see some dunks, some on threes. I mean, behind the scenes we're not that interesting. You know, we're pretty normal. We enjoy our families, the outdoors, movies, music, art, food. So it's not like we're special super—superhuman—superheroes, we're just very blessed to have a great job and have fun while doin' it.
Curry: That's a great answer.
JW: I mentioned media circus, but what about social media circus? I mean, Jordan didn't have to deal with Twitter trolls. How do you guys deal with social media?
Durant: It's just there now. I mean, basketball's the only important thing. So everybody gets up in the morning, comes to work, and comes to practice and play. Whatever they do outside the court is what it is.
JW: Is it still fun coming to work?
Durant: Depends. Fun is about perspective. I think we all have fun in different ways. And we show our personality every day and we come to work. And I think that's fun in itself.
Thompson: Depends on who greets you at the door.
Iguodala: Sometime Raymond [Ridder, Warriors Vice President, Communications] be waitin' on you at the door. And you be, like, damn G.
Curry: That is true.
JW: At this stage, what still gives you goosebumps?
Curry: I mean, I get butterflies and stuff before every game. Because I love to play and I know that [but] I obviously have expectations for how I want to play every night. It matters. So, regular–season game, playoff game—obviously the playoffs is a little more of an adrenaline rush—but I haven't reached the point where I would show up a game and not feel anything.
Durant: It's a different way. Yeah, I do. If I've been struggling shooting the ball for, like, two or three games, and next game I'm so anxious to see how I shoot it. I'll see what I do to kind of flip the slump. I guess, I get a nervous a little bit when I walk into the game, more so than ever.
Iguodala: Father Time...
JW: Father time gives you goosebumps?
Iguodala: I'm actually excited for what's after my career, so I get goosebumps about that, about what I'm gonna do next. But I don't know if I get goosebumps [about playing] anymore.
JW: Serious question: Do you guys ever wonder, how can I play for another team after going through this?
Iguodala: What they don't know 'cause they're younger—they've got time. But yeah, when you get older—you don't want to play for anybody else.
JW: This is it. It's not gonna better than this.
Iguodala: If somebody else recruitin' me, look, man, this has gotta be the template.
Livingston: You got guys up here, ten years plus in the league, eight, nine years plus. So, try to tell the young guys that come in: this is somethin' special. And we talk about that. We're present. You know, enjoy it. Enjoy it while it lasts. Because if you do go to another organization, another team, chances are, it's gonna be different.
JW: Do you pull over these young kids, these rookies, and say, 'Guys, enjoy this. Because this isn't how it's always gonna be.'
Durant: Yeah, you tend to say it sometimes. Especially when we only practice for about 15 minutes, 20 minutes. And, you know, the optional shootaround some days. You know, we've got veterans guys that been through the grind. So coach allows us to kind of work on our own bit. I know if I had come into that league under that same type of template, it'd been tough for me to really focus in every day. So it's good that the vets that can tell you exactly what goes on in this league. Because it's hard when you're coming here first.
JW: Klay, you guys go on the road. It's like the Super Bowl for the other team. What's that like for you?
Thompson: It's great. I mean, especially in my rookie year, we used to have no fans on the road. Maybe one or two die-hards you'd see in the crowd. But now to see... to go on the road and see, you know, the Steph Curry jerseys, the KD jerseys, I've seen a couple Iguodala jerseys sprinkled in there. A few Thompson. [Laughs]
Livingston: S. Dots….
Thompson: One or two S. Dots [Laughs] but—yeah, it's really cool to see the fandom. I mean, it didn't happen overnight. The Warriors have some, you know, bandwagon [fans] like that. I never would have thought it eight years ago. You know, it seemed like a distant fantasy. But now it's reality. It's pretty crazy.
JW: Wasn't like this when you and Steph got here, was it?
Thompson: Absolutely not.
JW: We heard that Steph at DeMarcus Cousins' first [home] game, you said, 'I want him to get introduced last.' That's usually your spot, but you wanted him to get that last introduction. Why'd you do that?
Curry: It's his moment. You know how hard it was for him to spend a year rehabbin'—coming to a new team, play in front of his new home, home fans, and enjoy that—that atmosphere and that moment. So, that's what we do. We celebrate each other. Like, we understand it's not about one person. It's not about, you know, the individual whatever. It's just, like, in terms of him integrating himself into what we do, that was just another step for him just enjoy it. And just relax and be, like, 'Yo, I've been through so much. Now it's time to just play basketball and enjoy myself.'
JW: You guys are movin' across the bay next year. You sentimental about that?
JW: How do you feel about it?
Thompson: I mean, Oracle and Oakland have been great to us. I mean, you saw it during the parades. Million-plus people. It's only a city of about 500,000. To people who pour into the city and support us means so much. And, just to be a light in the city as well. I mean, I know it's been on—had some rough times, but, you know, like I said, be that light for people. And to give people hope, like we've been doin' in Oakland for the last 40 years, how long we've been here. Of course, it's gonna be sentimental. I mean, we've been done great things in that building and had great memories.
JW: And winning a title for Oakland one last time? Is that motivation?
Curry: Yeah. That's that's the situation. We know doesn't matter we win or lose, we leavin', so we might as well go ahead and get this.