Fuel to the Fire: Kevin Durant’s fight for recognition

Givanni Damico | June 11th, 2019

If you missed game five of the NBA Finals, you missed what could potentially be the end of Kevin Durant’s “prime”. To backtrack a little bit, Durant was initially injured in game five of the Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Houston Rockets when he was diagnosed with a calf strain. At the time, many, including Durant, believed it could have been an injury to his Achilles tendon. Everybody was relieved to find out that it was a calf strain instead. The Warriors’ had missed his presence in the NBA Finals so far, as they were down 3-1 to the Toronto Raptors going into game five on Monday night. To the relief of Warriors’ fans everywhere, doctors cleared Durant to play in game five of the Finals. There was plenty of speculation about him possibly re-injuring his calf and that it was a risk for him to be playing. Well, those people were right.

As you can see in the video, with about 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter, a little push from Serge Ibaka sent Durant hobbling. It is clear that he is grasping his right calf area, the same part of his body that he injured four weeks ago. Although this time, it’s clear that this injury is more serious than the last.

 

Some people have speculated that the “pop” that you see in Durant’s calf has something to do with scar tissue, but let me tell you all right now, that is not a scar tissue problem. Warriors’ general manager Bob Myers confirmed that it was an Achilles injury. We did not see this pop when he was initially hurt against the Rockets, so this is even more concerning. This has already led many to question the decision to let Durant play. We do not know if Durant went against medical advice and the advice of his coaches when deciding to play last night or not, but either way, Steve Kerr and the entire staff will be under fire. Durant’s future is in a bit of jeopardy. He could never be the same player again. This begs the question: will Durant stay in Oakland?

Durant will forever be one of the most underappreciated players in the game. When he left Oklahoma City to join Golden State, everybody was up in arms about it. He was called everything from “disloyal” to a “snake” and maybe it was for good reason. That’s not the point. His legacy has been tarnished by people who are not willing to appreciate the fact that he went ring-chasing.

His own general manager has publicly disrespected Durant as well. After their third championship last season, Warriors’ GM Bob Myers made some tasteless jokes at the expense of Durant at their parade. Myers joked that Durant could have “any contract that he wanted” before the parade, but he took that comment back in a way that did not sit well with many people. He said that the comment was “just for the media” and that Durant could not actually have whatever he wanted. This was reasonable enough to say, but it got worse when broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald brought back something that Myers said about Stephen Curry being able to have whatever he wanted. So, Myers shot that down like he did with Durant, right? No, not at all. “That was different. He’s been here since the way before days… he’s earned it.” Ouch. That is not a good comment to make about a player who just helped your team win a championship. Myers tried to make it better in the coming days, saying that Durant wasn’t offended by the comments. Well, we all know that Durant can be very sensitive. I mean, we all remember the burner accounts, right? Even if Durant really did not care about what Myers said, those kinds of things should still never be said considering they can fracture a relationship.

It’s not only the management that has disrespected Durant publically. His own teammate, Draymond Green, has had his own beef with his teammate. Back in November, there was a dispute between the two on the bench. It started with Durant yelling at Green for not getting him the ball. Green, being the hothead that he is, took exception to how he was being talked to and started talking. He loves to talk and it gets him in trouble a lot. He told Durant how he had been making plays for years and that the Warriors were winning before Durant was a part of the team. He finished by saying how Durant was making the entire season about him even though he was planning on leaving in free agency. Look, teammates get in disputes a lot. It happens. But this type of disrespect from a teammate is uncalled for, even if what he’s saying is true. He’s showing up his teammate in public and it just is not a good look. Green did not want to take accountability so he decided to make Durant the bad guy instead.

Durant has already had 12 successful seasons in the league, including 10 straight All-Star seasons. This is more than what could be said for most. Everybody is hoping and praying that this is not another Derrick Rose-type injury, meaning that everybody hopes that he will come back as strong as ever once he works through this. Depending on the severity of the injury, this could be an uphill battle. Durant is a proven hard-worker. He’ll do whatever he can to get back on the court as quickly as possible. This injury could force him to miss all of next season though, unfortunately. If this is the case, it would be smart for Durant to opt into his player option for one year/$31.5 million. Even with this injury, teams will still be offering max-contracts for Durant. He holds the key to his future. Will he remain a Warrior? The offseason drama will be very interesting to watch. For now though, we must focus on the remainder of the Finals. The Warriors took game five. Will they make another comeback?

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Main Image Credit:  Embed from Getty Images

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