Kevin Durant is set to lead a Team USA squad full of youngsters, a little reminiscient of the first time KD donned the red, blue and white, seeing Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and others.
Sometimes, playing in front of several other superstars and NBA legends can be intimidating. They’ve been succeeding for so long, and to come in and try to hold your own against them can be a challenging task.
However, for Durant, it was just the opposite. Ahead of his NBA debut, ‘The Slim Reaper’ got a chance to play with Team USA members in a brief stint in 2007.
Playing in the traditional USA Blue vs. USA White practice game, Durant absolutely killed it, and it made him realize just how great it was to play against some of the NBA’s greatest at the time.
In 2007 at the age of 18, before Kevin Durant set foot on an NBA court, he TORCHED team USA in a scrimmage while being guarded by Lebron James & Tayshaun Prince.
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This was the first time Lebron saw KD on the court 🔥 pic.twitter.com/X8pOMA2P5j
— SnipaKD (@SonicsKD) July 25, 2020
Kevin Durant Said That Playing Against Kobe Bryant And LeBron James At 18 Helped Build His Confidence
Durant was about to enter the NBA in 2007, and he was being looked at as one of the best prospects in college. Before he even entered the NBA, he got a chance to match up with LeBron, Kobe, and Carmelo Anthony.
As an 18 year old, that must’ve been pretty scary right? Nope. According to Druant it was the best thing that he could have imagined. Being confident as ever, Durant recalled it as he wasn’t just playing against those greats, but he was also playing with them.
Durant would say about his 2007 stint:
“I’m playing against the best players, but I was playing with the best players, too. Kobe was on my team so he made life way easier for me. Being introduced to that elite level of basketball before I played a game. Being on the court with LeBron, Kobe, Melo, guys that played my position and the best in the league at the time, I felt real confident in who I was and where I was going.”
Kevin Durant On Playing With Kobe Bryant And LeBron James In First Spell On Team USA: “I’m Playing Against The Best… – NBA News https://t.co/2YkbuXDXto
— US Sports News 24/7 (@USSportsNew2021) July 24, 2021
Now, Durant finds himself on the other side of the story, being the mentor for some of the younger and inexperienced international players on the Team USA squad.
After failing to win gold in the FIBA World Cup in 2019, there is a tremendous amount of pressure on the Americans to win gold this time around. Their exhibition ghames weren’t particularly impressive either as they dropped two games to Nigeria and Australia.
However, they finished strong, and the team seems to be enjoying themselves at Tokyo. They are still the favorites, and they’ll look to start their gold medal bid with their first game against France.