Surprised that Durant left? Not me, buddy

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By Al S. Mendoza

All Write

Sunday, August 10, 2014

AFTER Paul George, it is Kevin Durant’s turn to leave the US Team bound for the FIBA World Cup.

But a leg injury forced George out while “physical and mental” stress drove Durant to quit.

George, the No. 1 power forward of Indiana and a major cog in the Spain-bound American quintet, broke bones in his leg while driving against Houston’s James Harden in a recent scrimmage.


So bad was the “gruesome” accident that even George’s 2015 NBA season could be over, too.

While George’s departure was already a big blow for the US squad, what about Durant’s withdrawal? Biggest blow yet.

“This was an extremely difficult decision…,” said Durant, the reigning NBA MVP. “I know that I owe it to my…teammates to be totally invested in the experience. [But] I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities to the team from both a time and energy standpoint. I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically, in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season.”

Not only are George and Durant out of the US Team set to defend the crown in Madrid Aug. 30-Sept. 15. Earlier, withdrawals included All-Stars Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, and 2014 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio.

Before them was LeBron James, the best player on the planet and who was just voted the fittest athlete today, who begged off from Day One.
Don’t be shocked if more would leave the US Team, now down to 15 aspirants, and each quitter would also be justified if he cites as reason body breakdown and mental malfunction.

The World Cup comes practically on the heels of the just-ended NBA season; and, training camp is just weeks away from blast-off in time for the 2015 NBA calendar’s start in November. Even Superman—and Hercules for that matter—needs to rest.

Closer to home, didn’t Larry Fonacier quit Gilas Pilipinas to preserve body and mind for the next PBA season that opens Oct. 19—admitting he’s been aching all over all this time? And before him, did giants Sonny Thoss and Greg Slaughter not also refuse a Gilas stint—6’8’’ Thoss for health reasons and 6’11’’ Slaughter for fear of bumping off a player “who’s been there longer than me?”

Nothing surprises me anymore. (

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 10, 2014.


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