Kevin Durant’s Olympics decision isn’t as crazy as it seems

On the floor, Kevin Durant’s reported decision to play within the Tokyo Olympics beginning subsequent month sounds … batspit crazy.

He is 32 years outdated. He is already a two-time Olympic gold medalist. He is just two years faraway from surgical procedure on his ruptured Achilles’ and he simply missed 37 out of 72 regular-season video games for the Brooklyn Nets.

Oh, and he simply acquired executed running a mind-bending, body-breaking playoff marathon for Steve Nash, who appeared decided to make use of the postseason as a weight-loss clinic for a franchise participant with no weight left to lose.

It would appear the very last thing KD must be doing is gearing up his physique for the July 6 opening of Team USA’s coaching camp in Las Vegas, adopted by 5 exhibition video games, then an infinite flight to Tokyo to compete in a Summer Games tournament performed below pandemic restrictions. Only James Harden’s decision to hitch him, coming off the hamstring damage, would make Durant’s name appear sound compared.

But within the wake of a heartbreaking Game 7 time beyond regulation loss to Milwaukee, Nets followers truly must be inspired by Durant’s starvation so as to add extra trophies to his case. KD has publicly acknowledged that he doesn’t spend a lot time weighing his place among the many recreation’s historic figures, or fretting over a sportswriter’s favourite phrase — legacy. And but everybody who spends time across the greats know, deep down, how they preserve rating. After Kobe Bryant received his fifth NBA title, he was requested within the postgame presser what his one for the thumb meant to him personally.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Just got one more than Shaq,” he mentioned. That can be Shaquille O’Neal, his former teammate and everlasting rival who would end his profession with 4 rings. “You can take that to the bank,” Bryant added.

So it’s also possible to take it the financial institution that Durant is conscious {that a} third gold medal would put him one forward of the dynastic drive he’ll endlessly be measured in opposition to, LeBron James, who won’t be making the journey to Japan. And as the person who already owns the Team USA report for factors in a single Olympics (Durant has the highest two totals with 156 in London in 2012, and 155 in Rio in 2016), KD is unquestionably conscious he’s just one massive night time away from setting the Americans’ all-time Olympic scoring mark — he’s 25 factors behind Carmelo Anthony.

What does this Olympic dedication imply for the Nets, aside from extra alternatives for Durant to get damage?

Kevin Durant at the 2016 Olympics.
Kevin Durant on the 2016 Olympics.

It means the participant that may cause them to a championship, or not, over the subsequent few years is relentlessly pursuing trophies, or medals, wherever they is likely to be out there. This is an efficient factor, not a nasty factor. You need your franchise participant to really feel this manner, particularly after his crew blew a golden alternative to chop LeBron’s lead over him in NBA titles from 4-2 to 4-3.

James and the Lakers had been out of the playoffs within the first spherical and the East opened up for a Brooklyn crew in the end doomed by accidents. Doubled over on the finish of Saturday night time’s Game 7, Durant was left mentally and bodily exhausted by the burdens he carried and the minutes he logged.

Now he’s already making ready his physique to climb one other mountain. Nets GM Sean Marks mentioned Monday that the query of whether or not his gamers would compete within the Summer Games would come all the way down to “a collective decision from all parties.” But when requested particularly concerning the Athletic’s report that Durant had already dedicated to USA Basketball, Marks confirmed that he wouldn’t stand in KD’s manner. Of course, his former San Antonio colleague, Olympic head coach Gregg Popovich, would have eliminated Marks from his Christmas card record had he provided any resistance.

Durant is sweet to go, Marks mentioned, “as long as several markers have been met, and that starts with us having a conversation with Kevin. … It’s difficult to turn down playing for your country. Having that opportunity is like none other, and I think Kevin knows this. Kevin knows if his body feels right and if he’s up for the task. What a great opportunity to go play alongside a lot of his close friends and go and have a very, very unique experience.”

But Kevin Durant isn’t going to Tokyo to hold with shut buddies. He goes there to guide Popovich’s crew, and to indicate how far he’s come from his early Team USA days when Mike Krzyzewski needed to reprimand his retreating beginner for wanting down on the flooring after they spoke.

More than something, Durant goes to the Olympics to realize issues different superstars, together with LeBron, haven’t achieved. If you’re a Nets fan relying on a redemptive championship subsequent yr, sure, this can be a good factor.

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