This photo was taken during Kevin Durant’s 2007 NBA rookie season. Wearing the Seattle SuperSonics number 35 jersey. He is holding a backpack under his right arm. His left hand is resting on his hip. Durant, who recently completed his first year at UT, has a rather clean face for his age of 19. His smile conveys his happiness at becoming an NBA player, and he holds his head high.
After last week’s training camp practice against the Phoenix Suns, Durant was shown this shot and asked to consider it sixteen years later. The man laughed.
He remarked, somewhat sadly, “It was a long time ago.” It has been a while. I’ve been a professional player for almost half of my life. It is a blessing to be able to follow my passion and perform on this platform. My only goals are to continue producing work of the highest caliber and to build on the accomplishments I have already made.
Durant’s 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐭𝐡day is September 29. Many athletes are witnessing a consistent decline in their performance at this point in their careers. A few of them have previously retired. Not Robust. Despite missing a lot of time over the past four years because of injuries, he is still a top player. The results of the annual NBA.com general manager survey were released on Tuesday, and Durant was named MVP. (Since Steve Nash in 2006 and Karl Malone in 1999, neither a player under the age of thirty-nine nor a player over thirty-five has won MVP.)
Without a doubt, Durant has earned a spot in the Hall of Fame. He has played in thirteen All-Star games, won two championships, four scoring crowns, and won the Most Valuable Player award in his sixteen years as a professional. Durant did not bat an eye when asked how he would have responded if someone had told him all of this back in 2007.
He answered, “I would have definitely believed it.” I had just that in mind. I always imagined myself as a professional athlete when I was little. You hold individuals who have been in the league for a time in high regard. Koʄe, or the Bryants. The KGs are these. The Paul Pierce family You get to see how the league’s veterans have performed after fifteen or more years as a young player. You could contribute to their success. Vince Carter is here. Jordan LeBron. Every hero you admire and hope to become one day That’s what I’m striving toward. lasting as long as is practically possible.
Contrary to what he claims, it is not simple. Shortly after winning his sixth championship with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan, then 35, announced his second retirement from the NBA. (He’d be alright.) Larry Bird’s chronic back condition forced him to retire at age 35. He did not. At the age of 35, Allen Iverson retired from the NBA and went on to play in Turkey.
Four months before his 35th 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐭𝐡day, Kohe Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles, the first of several injuries that quickly ended his career. Although Ke in Garnett was still an All-Star at age 35, he was no longer a dou le-dou le machine. Even at 35, Paul Pierce was still a reliable player, but his days as an All-Star were over. Vince Carter was an amazing supporting cast member who was 35 years old.
He’s an outlier like Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Other examples exist as well. Both Dirk Nowitzki and Karl Malone participated in All-Star games well into their 30s. Chris Paul, then 36 years old, finished first in the NBA in assists in the 2021–22 season. But ultimately, even the brightest stars have to reinitiate the souls. Durant, who is signed with the team through the 2025–26 season despite a history of injuries, is not present.
Until he suffered a knee injury in January, Durant was an MVP candidate for the Brooklyn Nets last season. At the trade deadline, he was sent to Phoenix, where he played three games before spraining his ankle in warmups. Despite this, Durant was one of the league’s best shooters in 47 games, averaging 29.1 points on 56.9 percent field goal shooting, 40.4 percent 3-point shooting, and 91.9 percent free throw shooting.
The rest of his crew doesn’t think he’ll alter much.
Keita Bates-Diop faced off against Durant quite frequently during his tenure with the San Antonio Spurs. The aim is to deny his possession of the ball at all costs. Try to herd him into a throng once he figures it out, because he’s amazing in outer space.
Bates-Diop, who stands at 6 feet 8 inches tall, remarked, “O��viously, he’s 7 feet tall, so he can shoot at anyone.” “Even at my height, he still can’t see it. Since he doesn’t interact with any people, this is making things more challenging for him, pushing him to his social life, and making him feel uneasy.
Bates-Diop is one of 13 new players for Phoenix, who are all there to provide the supporting cast that Kein Durant, Dein Booker, and Bradley Beal will need to bring the Suns their first NBA title. Many of the players are experiencing Durant for the first time in practice. The Athletic polled three people to see if Durant was showing signs of aging.
“No, no,” Bates-Diop exclaimed. Even though he just turned 35, I haven’t noticed any change in him. The spring in his step remains undimmed. His jumper was not cut short. He looks no older than 25.
S.,” said Jusuf Nurki. There is nothing there, guy. If he hadn’t had his 35th 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐭𝐡day just a few days earlier, I never would have guessed that his current appearance belied his age.
Grayson Allen: “We played the Warriors when KD was there on the opening night of my first NBA regular season game when I was in Utah. For the first time, I felt like I could just kind of watch him compete and play. From that point on, he was unquestionably one of the finest players in the league and the top scorer in my eyes. It’s impressive that he can compete at both ends of the court while being counted on for 30 points.
The rules are now different. The graph has shifted. Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is currently Durant’s manager in Phoenix. An observation he has made regarding them is as follows: “I think taking care of your ody is an important part of it, but I also think going hard throughout your career in all your job, you build your ody up so your body is never surprised by high-intensity labor. That’s just how these jerks operate.
This season, Durant’s workload could be closely watched. Vogel has stated that the Suns may achieve their goal of adopting a commonsense strategy by engaging in “constant consultation.” In September, the NBA passed a “Player Participation Policy” to increase the number of minutes that its best players get to log. Due to his age and length of service, Durant may qualify for special consideration.
The Suns didn’t play Durant, Booker, and Beal in Tuesday’s preseason game against the Denver Nuggets because they wanted to rest for the regular season. The three stars made up for the reduced playing time by staying late for the tea’s pregame shooting session to put in extra work. Durant raced from side to side while receiving passes from assistant coach John Lucas III and performing a series of shooting drills. This is what keeps Durant going after 16 years; it’s the secret to his longevity.
It just happened,” Durant remarked. “I don’t know that I can offer you keys or like some secret potion or magic that transpired.” Just trying to improve every day and having a genuine love for the group. That will just make you go to the gym nonetheless. That’s all there is to it. The things you choose the most to improve at will reflect your strengths. It’s useless if you don’t put it to good use. That’s how I’ve been trying to look at things.