Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant is one of the best pure scorers in basketball history, so it’s no surprise that he’s now leads Team USA in all-time points at the Summer Olympics.
USA Basketball reported on Durant’s Olympic scoring achievement in real time on Saturday, as Rob Perez provided the footage from the U.S. taking on the Czech Republic in the Tokyo Games to close out group play action:
It hasn’t been a magnificent showing from the Americans so far under head coach Gregg Popovich, yet they’re still in it with a chance to win the gold medal. A big reason why Team USA can overcome numerous flaws and a plethora of unfamiliar faces is due to Durant’s steady presence.
For whatever grief he catches as a reactionary, petty personality on social media, no one can deny Durant is already one of the greats to ever play the game. 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 mental health. Who’s to judge Durant for how he processes all the attention?
Having won gold medals twice before at the Summer Games, Durant knows what it takes to get it done on the international stage. He gets knocked for joining super teams, yet Durant nearly defeated the reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs without Kyrie Irving and with 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 the squad.
Perhaps if Team USA can overcome the adversity of starting flat in their exhibition slate and losing to France in group play to ascend to the top of the podium in Tokyo, Durant’s leadership will be more widely respected.