Fan favorite and giver of the all-time greatest MVP acceptance speech, Kevin Durant took his ball and went home today. The Oklahoma City Thunder star won’t continue his claim on a spot on the US National Team due to “physical and mental fatigue.” In his statement Durant called it a “difficult decision” but emphasized that he must “prepare for the upcoming NBA season.” Owners and fans around the NBA applaud Durant’s sense of priority–and his injury-free exit from camp.
Managing Director of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo expressed support for Durant, saying: “He’s been part of the National Team program for eight years and a big part of the success we have achieved, and we look forward to him being part of our success in the future as well.” That future involvement might be wishful thinking, since the future of USA Basketball likely will not include the NBA elite. Top players like Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge already withdrew from consideration for this year’s team. And the nail in the coffin of the “Dream Team” idea–launched to global fanfare at the 1992 Olympics–probably occurred even earlier this week when at a Team USA scrimmage Indiana Pacers star Paul George suffered a gruesome leg injury that required immediate surgery, jeopardizing his young career. George’s injury and now Kevin Durant’s withdrawal shine an even brighter light on the lunacy of this Team USA-brand of basketball moonlighting.