If there is one thing that NBA fans can take away from this season it is that injuries are inevitable. They are also unavoidable. Both Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets fans can attest to that as they have both seen it happen with Kevin Durant. Before KD suffered a hamstring injury that caused him to miss 23 games this season, he was out for 18 months recovering from an Achilles injury that he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals.
An Achilles injury is not the same as any other injury as it is usually career-threatening. When Kobe Bryant suffered that same injury in the 2013 season, he never quite recovered from it and it forced him to retire three seasons later. Durant has recovered from his Achilles tear perhaps better than any other athlete ever. As he showed during these playoffs, he has not missed a beat and is still one of the best in the game.
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Draymond Green Never Doubted If KD Would Play in Olympics
Despite Durant’s impressive showing this season many questioned if he would suit up for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Carrying such as heavy load in the playoffs after injuries sidelined his Nets teammates Kyrie Irving and James Harden many figured he would use the offseason to recover. However, Durant’s former Warrior teammate Draymond Green never doubted if he would play, because basketball is just a part of KD’s genetic makeup.
“I had no doubt in my mind that he was playing here. And I’m sure everyone was trying to talk him out of it—coming off an Achilles injury, all the minutes he just played in the playoffs, some injuries throughout the year,” Draymond told reporters after Team USA practice on Thursday.
“What I knew, in knowing Kevin, is you were going to have to talk him out of playing as opposed to talking him into playing. He just loves hooping. That is what he lives for. He just wants to play basketball. You give him an opportunity to play basketball on this stage he’s never turning it down because he just loves playing.”
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KD Is Motivated Simply by His Love of the Game
Every player who is fortunate enough to make it to the NBA has a different motivation behind it. For some, they are motivated to remove their families and loved ones out of less fortunate situations. For others, the motivation is making a lot of money and creating generational wealth. For KD he is simply motivated by the game itself, which is why his playing in the Olympics should have never been in doubt.
“That’s who he is. There’s this very cliché line that everyone uses in basketball when you’re working out, ‘Go game speed every rep.’ Quite frankly, I’ve never seen anyone do it, except him, that I have seen and had an opportunity to really watch their workout,” Green continued.
“That’s how he plays the game, that’s how he works. You’re talking about a guy who will sit in his home and watch an elementary school basketball game just to watch basketball. Really, really love the game, love watching the game, student of the game. Obviously, love hooping. It’s an incredible thing.”
Coming off of back-to-back long-term injuries in the last two years, playing basketball for nearly a full calendar year can be high risk. But for someone like Durant who is a true hooper, as long as he is healthy enough to play it is a risk that he is willing to take.
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