Atlanta Hawks’ Kevin Huerter Reveals How Kevin Durant Gave Him His Welcome to the NBA Moment

Published 07/22/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Jan 1, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets small forward Kevin Durant (7) drives the ball around Atlanta Hawks point guard Brandon Goodwin (0) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


Over the years, the NBA has produced future stars of the sport. Atlanta Hawks’ Kevin Huerter is no different, showing why he is the next big thing in basketball. The shooting guard has tremendous discipline on the court and possesses the ability to reach greater heights. However, being intimidated in your days of youth is very common. And with stars like Kevin Durant on tour, intimidation would be putting it mildly.

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Kevin Huerter’s welcome to the NBA

The 22-year-old had a steady 2020-21 season with the Hawks. Wearing the No. 3 jersey, Huerter started 49 of the Atlanta Hawks’ games during the regular season. Still blooming from his rookie seasons, Kevin averaged around 12 points and 3.5 assists during the year. Recently, the youngster from New York made a special appearance on a podcast with Dallas Mavericks‘ JJ Redick.

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Jan 29, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) controls the ball against Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) during the second quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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“Yeah, there was,” Huerter responded upon being asked if there was a moment of a reality check when he started in the NBA. “Back to my rookie year, we’re on a road trip, I think. At this point, I’m coming off the bench. I think I was the second wing off the bench. So we get in the game, playing the Warriors in Oracle.” 

Huerter ‘freaked out’ while guarding Kevin Durant

The 19th overall pick from the 2018 draft admitted that he had mini butterflies in his stomach during the game against the Warriors and said, “Kevin Durant is on the team. So I like switched onto him and right away I’m like ‘I’m guarding Kevin Durant.’ So obviously freaking out a little bit.” However, Huerter soon got his act together. He said, “I try to pressure him and he loses the ball, and it goes out to half court.

Jun 15, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Durant (7) reacts after being fouled late during the fourth quarter of game five of the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Huerter then assumed that his big moment had already arrived, before Durant retrieved the ball and showed the youngster who the boss was. Huerter said, “He catches it, looks up at the shot clock, there’s six seconds left. And takes three dribbles, gets to around 18-feet, hits me with a quick shoulder to the chest, just fades away, and bangs a two. And as he’s going back to defense, he’s just backpedaling and goes ‘welcome to the league bro.'”

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Kevin Durant is undoubtedly an intimidating figure, and the dynasty that he built with the Golden State Warriors is simply awe-inspiring. He is one of the most talented athletes to have graced the sport and continues to work his magic at the age of 32.

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

71 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football, and table tennis. Apart from his professional desires, Sankalp does voluntary service with his friends to feed hungry animals on a regular basis.

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