Guest Post: Why You Have to Watch the Documentary on Kevin Durant

*This is a guest post written by my hoops buddy and Boston Celtic fanatic, Alwin San Jose.

The good thing about being in the US is that I do not need to download via torrent certain sports documentaries/specials because of a service like HBO Go. The NBA season is underway, and what captured my attention was a short documentary entitled “The Off-Season: Kevin Durant.”

Kevin Durant: His Game Never Ends.
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It goes for barely an hour, and it has the look and feel of an NBATV production. Given that it’s an HBO Sports production, however, the difference is that it was just a bunch of cameras following Kevin Durant and having him explain what happens to him during the highlights of this year’s off season (think Inside Freddie Roach).

The documentary starts on Day 1 (of course), when KD is fresh off being eliminated in the West Finals by the eventual champions, the San Antonio Spurs. He has been out of sorts for the first three days of the off-season since, as documented everywhere, he is tired of constantly finishing #2 – 2nd pick of his draft class, 2nd best player behind LeBron, and now 2nd in the West to the Spurs. He is sick and tired of hearing this 2nd place crap. The start of the document has him mention that he can’t settle for that. He will be measured by championships, and the off-season has shown that work does not stop when the playoffs end.

The documentary has shown that he is a real gym rat, that this is not all a glorified press release. He works out in LA (he feels comfortable working on his game in Los Angeles – a tease to all Laker Fans), he works out with his OKC Thunder partner, Russ Westbrook, in Sand Dune Park in Manhattan Beach, he works out in playground leagues, he works out with Melo in NYC, and he works out with Steve Nash before this season (Nash teaches Durant the nuances of getting space to release his jump shot). What KD mentions (and is shown in all of these basketball trainings) is that off-season is getting better in the game that you love.

Apart from this main storyline of the documentary, here are some bullet points that caught my fancy while watching:

·       As mentioned earlier, Steve Nash works out with him and he is passing on some of the tricks that he learned throughout the years to KD. Looking back, and based on what happened to Nash before the start of the season, it felt like a passing of the torch from a member of the greatest 90s draft class to a member of a great 2000s draft class

·       Durant goes back home to Washington this off-season. As he goes around the neighborhood where he grew up, he wistfully attaches childhood memories with each place he points to. He credited his game blossoming in Washington. A good sign for the #kd2dc movement? Stay tuned.

·       Roc Nation (Jay-Z sports agency) figures prominently in this documentary, showing KD’s agent taking care of him every step of the way (handling the “KD brand” in a “business partners” meeting – namely the brands that he endorses, taking care of his publicity appearances and commercial shoots, among others). This documentary sure can be sent to other top athletes as a recruiting video for Roc Nation!

·       Before signing back with Nike, there isa scene in the documentary where KD is with his agent and he is holding (and looking) at an Under Armour basketball shoe. Judging by the look on KD’s face, you could feel that he was not going to sign with them (well hindsight is 20/20 some might say)

·       You can understand that he was really mentally and emotionally spent when he quit the US Men’s basketball team before the FIBA World Cup (with all the basketball training that I have mentioned above). And he also addresses that the Paul George injury got to him; it made him afraid for his own career.

·       All the training and off-season scrimmages that were shown in the documentary (I am sure there are more games that were not seen in the off-season) took their toll on KD given that the documentary ended with the news that he had a stress fracture on his foot. So his “off-season” was lengthened for another month or so. And it seems that, in his voice, this was eating him up, the thought that another year might be wasted. Still, he knows that he will continue to improve and strive to be the best.

Overall, the documentary, on the surface, feels unfiltered, and it covers so much of an NBA superstar’s life: so much responsibility, so much load. But at the end of it, the priority is still to improve and mature as a basketball player, the best job in the world (for KD and I’m sure for most rabid Pinoy basketball fans). 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @alwinsj

The promo clip for "The Off-Season: Kevin Durant":

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