This was the statement released by Kevin Durant, upon his announcement that he would be leaving team USA:
"This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country. 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 USAV and look forward to future opportunities with them."
It's possible to take this at face value. But we live in a world of social politics, and it's entirely possible that KD may have had other reasons for quitting the team. We all know about Paul George's horrific injury. It's hard for anyone to continue playing after seeing anything like that, especially if you're risking your very livelihood. But there's another factor that may have played a much bigger role in KD's decision: the almighty dollar.
It was reported recently that KD might be signing a large endorsement deal with Under Armour. Durant's old endorsement deal was with Nike. Nike is the official uniform provider of Team USA.
We don't know anything more than this, but the timeliness of the two incidents can't be ignored. We likely won't ever find out whether there's credence to this line of thinking or not, but it's still very interesting to think about.
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