“Feed Off That Type of Energy”: Kevin Durant Explains the Impact of Kobe Bryant on Team USA

Published 07/10/2021, 6:00 AM EDT
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


International basketball is in full swing as the Tokyo Olympics 2021 will soon kick off. The USA is looking to win its fourth consecutive gold medal heading into Tokyo.

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Headlined by Brooklyn star, Kevin Durant, team USA has assembled a talented roster to compete for the gold. Players like Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, and Bam Adebayo are also a part of the roster. Kevin Durant has won 2 gold medals at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016. Now, he is chasing his 3rd Olympic gold.

Apr 10, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Durant (7) controls the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant says team USA wants to Honor Kobe Bryant

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During the Team USA News Conference, Kevin Durant was asked how Kobe Bryant’s passing is fueling team USA. In response, Kevin Durant said:

“Kobe Bryant is a guy we all looked up to and watched as kids. Even when he was alive and playing his DNA was embedded in us as players. He kinda, from afar taught us what the game is about, what work ethic is about. We all kinda pull from him when he was playing and he was alive. But, now that he is not with us no more, we all wanna honour his teachings by going out there and playing with that passion, with that energy every single play. And guys that had close relationships would understand how he would approach every single day. Especially with Team USA, he really took pride in being part of this group and a part of this team. We all feed off that type of energy.” 

KD further said that Kobe has a big impact on everyone and that they miss him. Team USA will go out there to compete, honoring the legend of Kobe Bryant and playing with their heart. There is no question that the ‘Mamba Mentality’ is floating around the Team USA camp.

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Kobe Bryant and KD

Apart from the great NBA battles between these two, Kobe and KD played together for Team USA in 2012. Team USA had a perfect 8-0 record in the Olympics, beating their opponents by an average of 32 points a game. They also set the Olympic record for most points in a game with 156 against Nigeria. They went on to win the finals against their 2008 rivals, Spain.

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Kevin Durant led the team in scoring as he put up 19.5 points a game, while Kobe Bryant averaged 12 points a game. They both had the utmost respect for each other as competitors as Kobe even said that the one player he could not figure out was Kevin Durant.

Now, KD looks to honor ‘The Mamba’ by helping the USA capture their 4th consecutive gold medal. Do you think the USA will be successful in capturing the gold?

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WATCH THIS STORYDamian Lillard and Others Headline the Team USA’s Basketball Roster

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Anuj Talwalkar

138 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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