OAKLAND, Calif. -- It had been five seasons since Kevin Durant had reached the NBA Finals, a basketball eternity, but the star forward certainly made the most of his first trip since then, leading the Warriors to a championship -- his first -- while winning Finals MVP honors.
Durant finished with 39 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists on 14-for-20 shooting in 40 minutes. He averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the Finals, with a 55.6 field goal percentage.
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Durant lauded Golden State's fans and the Bay Area community while accepting the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy.
"I'm just so happy to be a part of it, man," Durant said in the ABC broadcast of the trophy ceremony. "I can't wait to celebrate with my teammates in the locker room."
Durant becomes just the third player since 1969 to win Finals MVP in his first season with a team. Moses Malone did it with the 76ers in 1983, and Magic Johnson did it in his rookie season with the Lakers in 1980. Durant also becomes the third player to win four NBA scoring titles and an NBA title, joining Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.
"We did it," Durant said, when asked if he had any words for his mother, who was close by. "I told you when I was 8 years old. We did it."
Durant shot 70 percent in Game 5, the best field goal percentage in a title-clinching win in NBA Finals history, with a minimum 20 attempts, and tied for the fifth-best overall, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"The way that he embraced the opportunity in the Finals, it was unbelievable," Stephen Curry said. "It's kind of crazy to think about the conversations we had this summer and going into the year about how we can both mesh and do what we do and be the players that we are. And [to] see it come to life in this series, it was unbelievable.
"So we're obviously just getting started. This is something that we want to continue to do, but for us to have these conversations that we had almost a year ago and now being in this position, worth every shot we took in practice, fighting through injuries that he had this year, and it's an unbelievable feeling. I'm happy for him. You got to call Kevin Durant a champ now. He's put the time in, and I'm just so happy for him to be able to realize his goal and be my teammate."
Durant's 35.2 average was easily the most in history by a player who shot 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line in an NBA Finals, in front of Penny Hardaway's 25.5 in 1995 and Chauncey Billups' 21.0 in 2004.
"It feels so great because, like I said, it's a team sport," Durant said in his postgame news conference. "Man, you got to want to sacrifice. You got to want to put your teammates in front of yourself sometimes. And I just tried to do that but also be aggressive. Andre [Iguodala] told me all the time: It is your time, go take it, it's about you. But I'm like, no, it's about us. It's about us. But I'm still going to be me."
In one of the most debated moves in recent NBA history, Durant joined the Warriors in free agency last summer after spending nine seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who held a 3-1 series lead over the Warriors in last year's Western Conference finals but eventually lost.
"I'm just so happy for Kevin," coach Steve Kerr said. "I'm happy for all of our guys. It's interesting when you look at championship teams, each player kind of has their own story. You got a rookie like Patrick McCaw who comes in and plays in a Game 7, makes an impact. And his story is so different from Steph's and Klay's. But Kevin has a very unique story -- you just mentioned that. I'm just happy for him. He's had an amazing career, but he just took it to the next level. He was incredible all season long. He had an amazing series, just dominated.
"Everybody for the last 10 years knew how good he was, but until you break through and win that first championship, there is still -- there's always still something there. I'm just so happy Kevin has broken through, and there's more to come from him."
Information from ESPN's Stats & Information was used in this report.