OKLAHOMA CITY — Dexter Pittman played just one season with Kevin Durant. But it was enough to make an impression on the Miami Heat center.
The NBA's reigning scoring champion taught Pittman work ethic and resolve — traits he'd need to play at the next level. But some lesson weren't learned.
Pittman hit Pacers' guard Lance Stephenson with a controversial forearm in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals but claims it was an accident.
Q: What was it like playing Kevin Durant at Texas?
A: We came in the same year and he imprinted a lot of things into that program like strength and working hard. When he left, it stayed there with us.
What kind of legacy did he leave the program with?
Great legacy. He started one. If you go back there now, you'll see all the guys working hard right now. That's what brought me here — working hard and being dedicated. Kevin's like my brother too. So it's a lot to play with a guy like him and then you play with a guy like LeBron.
What's it like to play on a hated team?
You just don't pay attention to it. You can be your own biggest critic. All you can do is keep getting better and let ‘em hate. You can't do nothing about it. You can't touch ‘em. You can't say nothing to them mentally. People are going to have their own opinion. So you just look at it like that.
You played in Oklahoma City during the Big 12 Tournament. Any memories?
Yeah, I made the (Big 12) All-Tournament team my first time here. This arena fills up, and it's loud.
How do you feel now about the forearm you threw at Lance Stephenson?
It's in the past and what happened, happened. I didn't intentionally mean for nobody to get hurt. It's just a freak accident.
Why did you wink after you hit Stephenson?
Because someone was acknowledging me on the baseline and told me to keep working hard. I nodded and winked. It was bad timing and cameras caught me.