Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant is one of the best pure scorers in NBA history, so it should come as no surprise that he now leads Team USA in all-time points scored at the Summer Olympic Games.
In the DMV, where I’m located, and not too far from where KD grew up and honed his superior basketball skills, we’ve always called the skinny kid from Seat Pleasant, MD a walking bucket or 30-piece with two sides because of his scoring prowess.
This is KD’s Olympic team as he’s the star of stars on this particular Team USA squad.
And although it hasn’t been a magnificent showing so far under head coach Gregg Popovich, they’re still in it with a great chance to win the coveted gold medal with a 2-1 record.
A big reason why Team USA has overcome numerous and very obvious flaws as well as a plethora of unfamiliar faces due to roster changes, is the calming influence that KD’s in steady presence gives it as the Alpha of this team.
For whatever grief he catches because he’s a reactionary — and sometimes petty personality on social media — no one can deny Durant is already one of the all-time greats to ever lace up the sneaks.
Plus, as we’ve seen with legendary U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, the unprecedented scrutiny and exposure brought on by the social media era can take a toll on anyone’s health.
Who are we to judge Durant on how he handles and processes all the attention?
Having won gold medals twice before at the Summer Games, (2012 and 2016), Durant knows what it takes to get it done on the International stage.
He gets knocked for being on several Super Teams, joining one and creating one.
Heck, he nearly defeated a fully-healthy Milwaukee Bucks team in the playoffs minus an injured Kyrie Irving and an extremely hobbled James Harden.
As for the present in these Olympics, it’s just different this time around in the sense that Durant is the clear, seasoned veteran who’s tasked with leading this particular Team USA squad.
We all know KD is gonna do his part, but he’ll need the others to continue to step up and join him.
Perhaps if Team USA can continue to overcome the adversity of starting flat in their exhibition slate and then losing to France in group play to ascend to the top of the podium in Tokyo, Durant’s leadership will be more widely respected.