Kevin Durant’s world view changed when he couldn’t play

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Kevin Durant ranks No. 8 in the ESPN World Fame 100. This story about him appears in ESPN The Magazine’s June 12 World Fame Issue. Subscribe today!

HE CHOSE the house in the hills because it provided the most expansive view: the Bay, the bridge, his new city, his new home. But now Kevin Durant feared it would be just another vantage point to sustain him through yet another injury.

It had all been going so well too. Fifty-eight games into his maiden voyage with Golden State, he’d been averaging a tidy 25.8 points and 8.4 rebounds, shooting a career-high 53.8 percent. It was Feb. 28, a date he’d circled on his calendar — the night he would return to his native Washington, D.C., for the first time in his gleaming gold and blue duds, to play in front of nearly 80 family and friends.

Just 57 seconds into the game, Wizards forward Markieff Morris lured Klay Thompson into the post as Durant watched from the weak side. Morris’ turnaround jumper bounced off the iron, and Wizards center Marcin Gortat threw Zaza Pachulia out of the way in pursuit — Pachulia flailing backward, his 275-pound body rolling into Durant’s left leg. It buckled awkwardly. When Durant grabbed his knee and hopped three steps up the court, his father, Wayne Pratt, turned to his wife: “Kevin’s hurt.”

“I knew,” Pratt says now, “because he never reaches for his leg like that.”

Durant stayed in the game for 36 more seconds, jogging gingerly up the court before retreating to the bench. “Something’s not right,” he told coach Steve Kerr. On the sideline, Wizards coach Scott Brooks couldn’t help but wince. He’d come to adore KD during the seven years they were together in OKC, back when basketball was the only thing that mattered to Durant. “I would say, ‘Kevin, did you eat breakfast today?’ Or, ‘Kevin, you need to wash your face.’ ‘Kevin, you need a haircut.’ He had no clue. He just wanted to play ball.”


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