To China And Back, Durant Remains Busy This Summer

By CHRIS SILVA | THUNDER.NBA.COM

For all the history that envelops the Great Wall of China, Kevin Durant contributed to it earlier this summer when he hosted a basketball camp at the base of the ancient wall.

“They said that was the first time that ever happened, to have a clinic in the Great Wall,” Durant said. “It’s something that I’m always going to remember. Then I had the opportunity to walk up the Great Wall, which was tough and a good workout for me.”

China was just the beginning for what has been a rather hectic summer for Durant.

Shortly after the Thunder’s season ended at the hands of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6, Durant spent the ensuing few weeks with his teammates both back home in Washington, D.C. and in Los Angeles.

After a weeklong trip to China with teammate James Harden as part of a Nike Basketball tour, Durant headed straight to New York City for the official announcement of the World Basketball Festival later this summer.

After stops at the Goodman Summer League, a D.C. hot spot for street ball, and local gyms where he grew up playing, Durant was in Chicago earlier this week for the Nike Skills Camp before returning to Oklahoma City for his annual Kevin Durant Basketball Camp at Heritage Hall High School.

It seems that a homing device would be appropriate for tracking Durant’s whereabouts during the offseason because the Thunder forward has remained so busy.

But everywhere Durant has gone, he hasn’t strayed far from a basketball court. And Durant showed just how sharp he is on Wednesday, when he sank a half-court shot from behind his back before a gym full of screaming children.

After his camp, Durant is expected to head to Orlando to be with his Thunder teammates for Summer League before heading to Las Vegas in late July for USA Basketball training camp.

“I can’t stay away from the game that long,” Durant said. “I’m just always trying to get better every time I step on the floor. It’s been tough to walk away from, just to relax and chill.”

But when Durant has had downtime, he’s still opted to spend a majority of it with his Thunder teammates, including Jeff Green, Eric Maynor, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, celebrating birthday parties, working out and just laying low.

“I just wanted to stay in contact with everybody and let them know that we don’t have to hang with each other just during the season,” Durant said. “There’s the offseason to chill with each other. That’s the best thing about this team – that we realize we’re all a part of a family. I’m very blessed to be a part of that.”

And throughout his travels, Durant has been an ambassador of sorts for Thunder basketball, especially halfway around the world in China, where there is an ever-growing NBA fan base. Durant is all about spreading the word about Thunder basketball, about their team-first approach.

“That’s what I wanted to do, was let people know who we are as a group,” Durant said. “I’m big on team. I’m big on my teammates and letting everyone know we’re a family and just more than teammates. Nike did a great job of helping me with that. They know my vision and know what I believe in so I just try to get us out there as much as possible. I’m sure we gained a couple of more fans out there in China.”

Contact Chris Silva