In the last week, James Harden has appeared on Jim Rome is Burning, Kevin Durant taped a nationally televised sit-down interview with Magic Johnson and Russell Westbrook’s eye-popping performances enticed a prominent NBA writer to Oklahoma City for an upcoming piece in ESPN The Magazine. The Oklahoma City Thunder has arrived on the NBA map, garnering attention and acclaim unlike anything the franchise has experienced since relocating from Seattle nearly two years ago. Evolving into the talk of the league is an honor, a testament to the Thunder’s thrilling turnaround. But with increased publicity comes perhaps the Thunder’s greatest challenge yet. Dealing with it. To this point, we’ve seen and heard Thunder players trumpet how tight they are. And there is no reason to not believe they don’t share a genuine fondness of one another. But now, the Thunder is entering a natural phase in which individual accolades can become the focus and me-first priorities typically take precedence. At every stop on the most recent three-game road trip, Durant has been flooded with questions about his present and his future: whether he wants to flee to a flashier market, if winning this year’s scoring title is on his list of goals and what he thinks about signing a long-term contract extension this summer. With so much young talent, the Thunder must now make it a point to not allow similar questions and concerns to become a distraction or, worst, disband the group’s chemistry. By all accounts Westbrook, Harden and Jeff Green, who, by the way, is also up for an extension this summer, each packs promise in his own right. And Serge Ibaka is beginning to make a case for being thrown into that mix. "It’s going to be challenging to deal with,” Durant admitted. "But I think we all have good personalities here. We all know where we came from, so we’re going to continue to be humble. That’s one thing we always preach here is being humble. "We’re not full of ourselves even though we can be. We’re in the NBA making a lot of money and providing for our families and being on TV all the time. It can easily get to you and make your head big. But everybody stays grounded, and I have a feeling it’s going to be like that for a while.” It’s not uncommon for a surplus of young stars to never materialize. Jim Jackson, Jamal Mashburn and Jason Kidd, all top four picks by Dallas from 1992-94, flamed out in 2 1/2 seasons. Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway lasted only three seasons together in Orlando before Shaq jumped to Los Angeles. In 2001-02, Golden State had Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Jason Richardson, Larry Hughes and Troy Murphy. But Hughes bolted the next season, Jamison was traded a year later and Arenas skipped town in free agency. The three later reunited in Washington and became a playoff team. "Egos are fine, as long as they’re team goals,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, a member of those Kidd-Mashburn-Jackson Mavs and presumably the front-runner for Coach of the Year. "Kevin has an ego. I have an ego. But we’re focused on getting this team better, and I see no problem with that. "We’re not arrogant. We’re a confident group that works hard every day, and that’s all you can ask for with any team.” The spotlight will now shine bright on whether the Thunder can sustain those qualities. Text "OKTHUNDER” to 65360 for your chance to win an Adidas Thunder #22 Jeff Green Away Jersey. NewsOK OKC Thunder news text alerts sponsored by Totally Tickets.