There is very little NBA superstar Kevin Durant has not done in his career.
Durant has had a career stacked with honours as a two-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP and 2014 NBA MVP. He’s also a two-time Olympic gold medallist — and has even won an Oscar.
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While Durant is now the Team USA leader for the Tokyo games, his shot at a third gold medal didn’t get off to the best start after losses to both Nigeria and Australia in Olympic warm-up matches.
Regardless, there is very little Durant has left to achieve as he continues his almost certainly Hall of Fame career.
However, the 208cm, 32-year-old revealed he was “blown away” by his latest accolade as he is set to grace the cover of flagship NBA video game 2K22 for the third time.
But he won’t be alone, joining two of the game’s greatest players in Dirk Nowitzki and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on a premium NBA 75th Anniversary Edition. Dallas Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic will front the Standard Edition, with the game to be released worldwide on September 10.
Kevin Durant alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dirk Nowitzki.Source:Supplied
Luka Doncic’s 2K22 standard edition cover.Source:Supplied
Although he already graced the cover of 2K13 and 2K15 previously, Durant said it was “a true honour” to bring basketball to the world in this way.
“To be alongside two guys that have meant so much to the game and have meant so much to the communities that they played in and lived in, I can’t really even describe how it feels,” Durant said.
“When I saw the cover, I was just blown away because I worked my whole life to be in the conversation with those guys. So, to kind of have a stamp with the 2K cover, I can definitely show my friends and brag a little bit, but it’s a true honour for sure.
“It feels good to see Kareem because he’s usually underrated when it comes to all-time greats. He’s the all-time leading scorer, created an unguardable shot, won multiple championships, MVPs, so to see him continuing to be around the community of basketball and be involved with 2K and be on the cover is pretty cool.”
An avid gamer who headlined a 2K Players Tournament when the NBA was shut down in 2020, Durant added that he played with teammates as well as other friends from around the league.
Durant said both Nowitzki and Abdul-Jabbar were among the influences for his game.
Durant paid tribute to his fellow cover athletes.Source:AFP
Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time leading scorer in the NBA with 38,387 points and won six titles. But his all-time record could be under threat, with LeBron James just over 3000 points away and showing no signs he’s considering retirement.
“I don’t know if he’s going to be able to catch up to me,” Abdul-Jabbar said of LeBron’s pursuit.
“He’s going to have to stay healthy. We’ve had a few incidents where he’s injured himself. So, it’s all about how long you can play safely without risking your health permanently. And I wish him well. I hope he stays healthy and we’ll see what happens.
“I’ll be happy to congratulate him because the records are only there to see how well we’re doing, as a race.
“Any one person who holds a record has to understand that it’s a very temporary thing.”
Abdul-Jabbar said he hoped that anyone who wasn’t aware of what he’d done in his career may be inspired to look up what he did in the game and in activism on the back of his involvement with 2K.
‘Dream Team’ an NBA game changer
Team USA are always going to be the Olympic gold medal favourites but the world order has been rocked in recent times.
Lead by Durant and featuring the likes of Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Bam Adebayo, Jayson Tatum and an estimated $AU3.4 billion worth of talent, Team USA has every right to be.
But humbling losses to Nigeria and Australia in recent days brought the US back to earth.
Gold medal three might be harder for Durant.Source:AFP
While not an unprecedented result, finishing seventh in the 2019 FIBA World Cup after losing to France in the quarterfinals, it’s still been quite a shock.
But Durant said the rise of the international game is a direct result of the 1992 Dream Team, as the rest of the world finally catches up.
“I think with the help of the Dream Team it (international basketball) has just taken off since then,” he said. “I remember hearing a story of Pau Gasol and Mark Gasol saying how inspired they were by just having the Dream Team in their hometown around that time and I can imagine how that made so many people around the world feel seeing those guys like that on the same team.
“Like then with Michael Jordan and what he did for the Chicago Bulls, and I think ever since then, anybody that’s come after that has helped elevate the game and take it to even bigger heights.”
He added that the rise of international stars is starting to have an impact on the NBA as teams build around international players with different styles.
“You know, you look at Jokic and Luka Doncic, those guys play a slower style pace, a pick n roll style, Jokic plays in the post … stuff that the NBA was getting away from, trying to speed up, but those guys have incorporated their slower style to our game and turned it into a different dynamic,” Durant said.
“The game is growing and evolving every day and it’s beautiful to see.”
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