By Randy Renner
It's about time something like this happened, in fact it's past time, long overdue.
Kevin Durant is finally taking a timeout from basketball, or at least competitive basketball, releasing a statement just after his basketball camp ended yesterday that he was withdrawing from Team USA and the preparations for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
The biggest problem with his announcement late yesterday afternoon is the timing. It kinda leaves Team USA in a bit of a lurch coming as it does almost a week after training camp and after some players were already cut from the roster.
But KD tried his best to make a go of it. He committed to the team last year and then went through all the training camp activities.
He watched Paul George snap his leg when he collided with a basket stanchion and is also involved in negotiations with Under Armour, Nike and Adidas about a new endorsement contract.
He's been holding youth basketball camps too, in fact he's right in the middle of his camp in Norman and Moore now.
And finally, as he looked at Team USA's schedule with more practices and games coming up in Chicago, New York and then Spain, plus a trip to Senegal, it all became too much.
Durant has logged a lot of minutes in the NBA, almost a thousand more than any other player over the last five years. He's never blamed fatigue or being tired for anything that has gone wrong in a game.
Watching him at times last season he certainly looked tired to me and now he has admitted he needs to take some time out to rest up, both physically and mentally.
He gave no hint of what was coming during his basketball camps yesterday, working with the kids and then posing for pictures with them and with various sponsor groups.
Late in the day he released a statement outlining his decision.
“This was an extremely difficult decision, as I take great pride in representing our country,” Durant said. “I know that I owe it to my USA Basketball teammates to be totally invested in the experience. After going through training camp with USAB, 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. I will be rooting for USAB and look forward to future opportunities with them.”
Less than two weeks ago Durant sounded like he was still fully on board when he talked to reporters on the opening day of Team USA training camp.
"I really want to play as much as I can and try not to worry about my body," he said then. "I know that sounds a little crazy and a little wacky. I want to take care of myself, but at the same time I want to play and experience all this stuff."
Durant's Thunder and Team USA teammate Russell Westbrook passed on this summer's activities several weeks ago, opting for rest instead. So did several other of the NBA's high profile stars, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and others.
Team USA should be fine in this World Cup competition even without those stars.
Durant and probably those other guys too can use the rest more than another gold medal.
Eventually the time comes when you have to get away from your job, even when it's a game. That time has finally come for Kevin Durant and hopefully the Thunder will be the beneficiaries when he's rested and ready to begin the 2014-15 NBA season.