Kevin Durant Thought His NBA Career Was ‘Over’ After Achilles Tear

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, NBA News
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant suffered a severe Achilles tendon injury as a member of the Golden State Warriors during Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, causing him to question his future in basketball.

In a candid conversation with longtime agent and business associate Rich Kleiman for Bleacher Report’s feature “35 at 35,” Durant shared the turmoil he experienced following the injury.

“That’s when I knew, I’m like, ‘Alright, I probably won’t go back to the Bay again,’ ” Durant said. “There are 20,000 people in there, and I heard a pop, so I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and my whole basketball career just flashed before my eyes, everything, everything I did, everything that I thought about, all my favorite moments, all my bad moments, it flashed.”

“And that’s why, if you watch, I’m just sitting there gazing into the crowd before somebody came over to help me up. Because I’m just like, ‘This sh– is over with.’ Like I truly don’t know what I’m about to be, and that’s a nerve-racking feeling when you don’t know who you are.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns Updates

Durant recalled the instant he felt his Achilles pop, which led him to believe he might never play in the Bay Area again. Durant described how his basketball journey, including triumphant and challenging moments, flashed before his eyes as he lay on the court, overwhelmed by the prospect of his career ending.

In the moments leading up to the injury, Durant, who was making a comeback from a calf strain, had scored 11 points in the first quarter, igniting hope in the Warriors as they aimed to turn the series around against the Toronto Raptors.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns Updates

However, as Durant attempted to drive past Raptors’ Serge Ibaka early in the second quarter, he fell, marking the end of his season with the Warriors. Despite winning that game, the Warriors’ hopes were dashed in Game 6 with an injury to Klay Thompson, leading to the Raptors winning the series 4-2 in Oracle Arena’s final game.

The recovery from a torn Achilles, especially for athletes reliant on explosive movements, is notoriously challenging. After leaving the Warriors in a move that stirred much debate and signing with the Brooklyn Nets, Durant sat out the entire 2019-20 season to rehabilitate.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns Updates

Durant’s resilience and dedication to his rehabilitation have paid off. Since returning to the court, he has regained his All-Star form and continued to excel with the Nets and later the Phoenix Suns, proving his indomitable spirit and place among the elite basketball players.

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