When Kevin Durant went down in Game 5 in a 6’11” heap it did not look good. While I have no rooting interest in these NBA Finals, I just want to see a good series that everyone plays well, makes it through healthy and is marred from controversy. It appears that I will not get all I asked for out of this series.
Down 3-1, it was really no surprise that Kevin Durant played in Game 5, however seeing him go down brings up a lot of questions, the most pertinent being is if he even should have been out there. The mentality that athletes are supposed to tough it out and that they should be out on the field, the court, the rink or pitch, if you can walk ( or even if they cannot in some cases) is celebrated. People will say , “look at how tough they are” and laud the effort and honestly that has its place in the world of sport. However strengths and weaknesses are often right next to each other, and that fervor and desire to get back at all costs could ultimately prove to be their undoing. Sometimes, teams have to protect these athletes from themselves, and this is what should have happened with Kevin Wayne Durant.
It’s intrinsic that he wanted to help his team in Game 5 , and no doubt in the games before then, but he should have been shut down for his own long term good.
The “clearing”process for these players should be revisited. That previous strain was a warning, which was not heeded, that the Achilles was on the clock and it needed some substantial rest and/or treatment to mitigate and prevent a future and potentially catastrophic injury. Cleaning him in that state is straight out of the San Antonio Spurs medical staff playbook.
Speaking of which, it more than proves that , though it was wrongly maligned, the approach that Mr. Kawhi Leonard took in terms of dealing with his injury in his infamous last season with the San Antonio Spurs was, in fact, the correct one. Leonard listened to what his body was telling him, and did not succumb to the pressure from the media, the Spurs and even his own teammates. While it seemed that KD was not dealing with some of the same external pressures, following the path the Klaw took may have paid off more in the long term. We know that Durant listens ( and responds)to what is said about him and he undoubtedly cognizant of the erroneous narrative regarding him coming to the Warriors and slighted perception of the titles won there that has been hammered into the sports lexicon. There are even people who somehow, someway get paid to discuss and cover sports who actually had the unmitigated temerity to say to thousands of people that the Warriors were actually better sans Durant. This hot take was fueled by the team’s victories over the Houston Rockets in the conference semifinals and subsequent sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Finals after his initial injury on May 8. I think that this chatter, and the desire to prove it wrong, played at least some role in his decision to play in Game 5.
To those sports outlets that were saying that Durant was merely sitting out to get ready for free agency and had no heart, I want you to know that you have no business in the business of covering sport. That is a lazy take that you have no basis on which to make it.
The fans that were actually cheering for the injury seriously need to evaluate themselves. That was one of the most disgusting displays I have ever seen from so-called “fans.” Should the Raptors manage to win the Finals and claim the NBA title, their behavior somewhat taints what could be a tremendous story unfolding right before our eyes. Way to stay classy 6.
We are complimentary of teams and athletes here and we are hard on them when necessary, but we never want to see anyone get hurt. We wish Mr. Kevin Durant a speedy recovery as well as Kevon Looney. We hope that every other player makes it through the series with their health intact.