One day before the first returns were announced for fan voting in the 2011 NBA All-Star balloting, Thunder forward Kevin Durant didn't think his name would appear any higher in the polls than it did last season.
â€œI got to do a little bit more for that to change,â€ Durant said Wednesday.
On Thursday, Durant discovered he's been doing something right.
After the first month of voting, Durant leads all Western Conference forwards with 470,881 votes â€” already more than half of his entire tally last season. With his current pace, Durant would be a lock to become a first-time starter as voted upon by the fans.
It's an honor Durant would happily accept and appreciate, but one that he would not take as much pride in.
â€œComing into this league, I didn't want stuff to be given to me,â€ Durant said. â€œI wanted to earn it and work for it and play for it. But if I get voted in, that shows that I've been working hard and the fans really respect how I play. So that's cool, too. But as a player, I'd rather have the coaches put me in. You know you earned it. You know you deserve it and you worked hard for it.â€