A report that was making the news rounds on Monday, June 24, is that Kevin Durant is “not really happy with how things went down because of the injury,” as said by Bleacher Report's NBA insider Ric Bucher during a radio interview this past Friday. In a tweet, Bleacher Report used the adjective 'pissed' to describe how Durant is feeling about the organization to which he won two NBA championships and in conjunction two NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards with. This is obviously fallout from Durant's surgery to repair his Achille's that only occurred because he felt betrayed.
Let’s recap. Back on May 8, Durant was first injured in what was reported by the Golden State Warriors as a severe right calf strain. Durant didn’t suit up again for the Warriors until Game 5 of the NBA Finals when, he was “re-injured,” this time what turned out to be a ruptured right Achilles tendon. The Achilles pop resulted in him needing surgery which he had done immediately. Durant’s gripe is that the Warriors’ team doctors flat-out lied to him. It is reported that not only did the team doctors tell Durant that he was good to go to play, but that he wouldn’t get injured again.
And what has Durant doubly heated is that these injuries happen the same time he is set to hit free agency. The Achilles damage was so serious that it is believed that he will miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season. This news came out before he was able to either re-sign with the Warriors (in which Durant declined the $31.5M offer) or sign with another organization.
Claude Brown, the author of the book “Manchild in the Promised Land,” is quoted as saying, “You don’t mess with a man’s money … these were a man’s principles.” Durant is rightly irate because the Warriors organization broke that principle; the Warriors organization may have f*ed up Durant’s money.
Durant’s tale is one side of a coin. His story of returning had just as much to do with pressure from outside forces to be Superman, swooping in to save the Warriors chances of three-peating (much as he did when he saved them from being beaten by LeBron James after the 73-win Warriors lost the 3-1 Finals lead in 2016) than team doctors looking out for the best interest of their employer. On the flip side, you have Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard’s exodus from the San Antonio Spurs was as tumultuous as an abusive relationship. Leonard suffered some type of quadricep injury during the 2017-18 season. That injury resulted in him missing the majority of the season. And that injury also opened the feud between Leonard the Spurs organization, so much so that even his own teammates called him out.
“I’ve been through it. It was a rehab for me for eight months. Same kind of injury but mine was a hundred times worse,” said the now retired Tony Parker, a long-time Spur, in a 2018 interview.
And despite the noise, the outside forces, Leonard stood firm, trusting his body over what the team doctors made known that he was 100 percent healthy. This led to the split between Leonard and the Spurs, which resulted in the Spurs shipping him off to Toronto and well … you know how that story ended.
“I could have gone anywhere, but I trust my Spurs doctors. They have been with me my whole career. They know my body better than anybody.” — Tony Parker
This is where both Durant’s and Leonard’s stories converge. The importance of knowing your body.
When it comes to your health, whether you’re an athlete, welder, sports writer or baby still being weaned, understanding your own body, your own health, is paramount. Doctors have the same frailty as all of us — they are human. They make mistakes. Our bodies don’t lie.
Durant trusted doctors who may, or may not have had an agenda. Leonard didn’t. The lack of trusting what his body was telling him will cost Durant a season of his prime, and possibly generational wealth. Leonard’s faith in his got him a second Finals MVP and helped a nation get its first NBA championship.
The late Arlen Specter is quoted as saying, “There’s nothing more important than our good health — that’s our principal capital asset.” For professional athletes, Specter’s statement is obvious. Their bodies, their health, is their asset so to not put it before doctors is as reckless as driving a car with no oil, a further devaluing of themselves that society has no problem doing without their help.
For everyone else, the asset of health is parents living long enough to see their children bear the fruits of their rearing and for children to fulfill their goals and dreams and mature into adults and live long enough to repeat that cycle.
A doctor’s prognosis is just a forecast but doctors don’t know the capability of your own body’s healing ability. Let it be the final say in your worth because at the end of the day, all you have is yourself to bet on.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at ChrisHarris_DLJ