Photo Accessed by Wikicommons.
You can’t defeat greatness. Professional athletes all over the world overcome incredible hurdles and roadblocks to become members of an elite group that just about every child wants to be a part of. You can’t defeat greatness, but you can make it hard for a return.
After missing the past month of games due to a calf injury, Kevin Durant suited up to play in must-win Game 5 of the NBA Finals. With his Warriors down 3-1 in the series, Durant started off hot, looking like he never missed time on the court. After scoring 11 points and securing two rebounds, things took a turn for the worst. Durant, looking to drive to the basket, planted his right leg and then lost the ball as he pulled up in pain.
Durant ruptured his Achilles tendon, which is one of the worst injuries for an athlete's career. Many athletes, and people in general, who sustain such an injury never return to the same level. Disclaimer: the video spares no detail of the injury, so if you have a weak stomach maybe don’t watch it.
Many are wondering if this is the end of the line for Durant, a 12-year NBA veteran. In my opinion, there are three important things to look at that will help us answer this question.
Kevin Durant is what we all think of in a professional basketball player, for most people that means he is really tall. At 6’9” he towers over most people, though that isn’t the only thing that makes Kevin Durant a great player.
Even though he is a very tall player, he still possesses incredible ball handling skills and footwork. He is smooth on the court and doesn’t just try to shoot over people, he drives past them; he goes around them. This is shown by his injury, it was sustained by trying to outmaneuver the Raptor’s defender.
I have always been the tallest person around. I am 6’5”, and for the short time I played basketball, my job was to get the rebound and pass to someone who had dribbling ability. KD is not limited to board duty, he is all over the court. A man with that ability does not back down from the battle it will take to get back on the field. You can't defeat greatness.
Durant is no stranger to injury. During the 2014-2015 season, he injured his foot and missed over half of the season’s contests. He rebounded to become a highly sought after free agent, and then joined the Warriors where his two NBA Finals MVP awards would like to remind you of what Durant is capable of after returning from an injury. I will say his current injury is far more severe than a foot fracture, but still, you can’t count him out.
Durant then overcame his calf injury to play in this pivotal game, which some argue was an unfortunate choice. He showed his resilience and toughness by doing so, regardless of the opinions of others.
I came across this quote by orthopedic surgeon Aaron Altenburg,
“When patients prepare mentally and physically for any surgical procedure they are actually taking the right steps toward empowerment...”
I think that Durant has shown us that he is physically and mentally prepared for whatever challenge comes up next. You can’t defeat greatness.
Watch Kevin Durant play basketball. If you do, you see a highly talented man that wants to play the game and wants to win. He plays with skill and passion that not many others possess. He fights through adversity; he does what he thinks is right.
When Durant made the decision to sign with the Warriors, he received a ton of hate. People hated that he was joining the “superteam” (really though, why would he have said no to that deal? What sane person would turn that down?!?). Again, his two Finals MVP awards say a lot about him, considering the “superteam” he plays for. He won’t be stopped, because you can’t defeat greatness.
Do I think that Kevin Durant will return from injury and have more success in the NBA? Yes. Unequivocally yes. He will do more great things. This man has already proven he will fight through adversity, overcome roadblocks, and is one of the greatest players to grace the court.
I imagine it will be a hard road for Durant, these injuries are bad and the recovery and rehab will be long and difficult. Regardless of the difficulty of the road, I believe Durant will come back and remind us all why he became such a basketball sensation. He may not be back to his peak level, but he will come back strong, determined, and motivated. You know why? Because you can't defeat greatness.