Kevin Durant is the nicest guy in the NBA and he often babysits for parents who can’t find a local teenager to watch their kid but still want to see “Water for Elephants” before it leaves the theater. I’m not entirely sure if that second part is true, but it sure seems like it. Laugh all you want about Durant being hailed for his humility, but it’s an image he’s earned through three seasons of supporting his teammates, deferring praise and making sure everyone realizes the Thunder’s success doesn’t happen just because he scores a lot of points. He’s a genuinely nice guy who cares about the other people on his team.

But that doesn’t mean he’s going to delight in someone else winning at his expense. Far from it. Here’s what he had to say in last night’s post-game press conference when he was asked what kind of feelings he had about Dirk Nowitzki finally making it back to the NBA Finals.

“I’m not happy at all,” Durant said, shrugging and smiling. “I’m a competitor, man, I really didn’t care about what he went through the last three or four years. I know that’s been tough for him, you know. He lost three of the last four years in the first round. I’m sure he’s happy now that he’s going back to the Finals but I’m not happy for him at all because I wanted to be there. But it happens like that.”

Duh. Of course Kevin Durant isn’t happy Dirk Nowitzki is the one playing for an NBA championship. But good for him for answering honestly and not being Saint Kevin of Humility, acting like it’s a good thing that Dirk is back in the Finals. Honesty is the best policy. Just ask DeShawn Stevenson’s throat.

This is really a perfect answer. We want our athletes to speak their minds, but we don’t want them to ever let on that they might not care about sports as much as we do. That’s a tough line to walk for guys that have to publicly answer questions every day for eight months a year. But Durant just nails it.

He’s not a jerk. He’s not flippant. He doesn’t humiliate the reporter who asked such a silly question. He just speaks his mind, shows us how he’s feeling and reminds us that he’s one of the fiercest competitors in the NBA, which is something that can get lost in his persona as the superstar who can do no wrong. Durant’s a killer and this is a great reminder of that.

(via Royce Young)