Miami Heat forward LeBron James and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Durant. Sue Ogrocki/AP/Press Association Images
Oh Baby Please

Kevin Durant: Give a little respect… to-oo-oo… me…

We can only apologise if you now have an Erasure earworm.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER forward Kevin Durant said he is still chasing the respect of his peers, ahead of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

Durant leads the NBA in average points scored per game this season (29.2), as he has guided the Thunder to second spot in the Western Conference with a 39-14 record.

An Olympic gold medallist at the 2012 London Games, Durant said he still has targets to achieve as he seeks more approval from his team-mates and opponents.

“As a player and as a man, you love to receive respect and I had to earn that respect from my peers, from my coaches and from the fans,” Durant said ahead of the exhibition match in Houston.

“I think I’m going in the right direction and I love the fact that the players here respect my game and enjoy watching me. Teams and coaches try to pattern their defences to try and stop me, and that’s a sign of respect which I love.

“I’m not trying to sound arrogant or anything like that, but I have to continue to try and get better if I want to gain more respect from the fans, from my peers and from the coaches. I need to keep getting better.”

On a lighter note, Durant said he was anticipating what the All-Star weekend organisers had in store for his arrival to the court at Toyota Center.

“The most exciting thing for me in the All-Star game is being announced as a starter,” he said.

“They do so many crazy things here in America with the NBA – they’ve got so much creativity with the whole starting line-up thing, so it’s going to be interesting to see what they have got planned this year.”

New York Knicks centre Tyson Chandler said his maiden inclusion in the All-Star squad for the East was just reward from his efforts to defy illness and injury.

“It’s so humbling to come into this game and to go through everything that I’ve been through, the ups and downs, and injuries,” the 30-year-old said.

“To never give up and say: ‘I’m just going to work as hard as I possibly can work every single day and eventually it’s going to pay off and work out for me’. Then to have it actually work out is just a blessing.”

GAA broadcaster Seán Óg Ó Ceallacháin passes away, at 89 >