Jay-Z to blame for Kevin Durant quitting Team USA?

Kevin Durant Jay-Z

Kevin Durant pulled out of Team USA two weeks ago much to the shock of USA Basketball coaches, players and executives. Durant cited mental and physical fatigue as his reason for quitting the team during the middle of training camp, only weeks away from the start of the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

“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,” Durant said in a statement. “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.”

Though many took Durant for his word — and he certainly has earned the benefit of the doubt — there has been a lot of skepticism about KD’s reason for quitting the team.

USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo said Durant pulled out because of contractual obligations, but he later issued one of those “clarifications.”

We speculated that Durant pulled out because he’s concerned with his next big shoe/apparel endorsement contract. It sounds like that is the case.

In a long, rambling, and at times incoherent opinion piece, Chris Sheridan says Jay-Z, who is the man behind Durant’s new agency Roc Nation Sports, is to blame for KD withdrawing from the team.

Though Sheridan never explicitly states what Jay-Z did, he says Durant’s agent is behind the surprising decision.

And what I have discovered in talking to members of the U.S. federation over the past two days is this: Durant and his agency, Roc Nation, are more interested in cashing in on his MVP award and his expiring Nike deal than they are in having Durant keep his word to the people who were with him in 2010 in Turkey at the World Championship and in 2012 in London at the Olympics.

Sheridan points out that since signing with Jay-Z, Durant has ended many of his previous business relationships. He ended his endorsement deal with Gatorade in favor of Sparkling Ice. He is now shopping around shoe/apparel companies even though he’s been with Nike since entering the NBA.

The implication is that Durant/Jay-Z/Roc Nation are more concerned with setting up his business deals than having him participate with Team USA.

For instance, Durant spent the day at Under Armour’s headquarters on Wednesday. UA is a Maryland-based company and reportedly was preparing a monster offer for the reigning NBA MVP. Sheridan also says adidas is preparing a big offer for Durant and that the Thunder forward re-signing with Nike is still a possibility.

Sheridan mentions that Durant may not have wanted to spend several weeks around Nike people (Nike sponsors USA Basketball) while he is shopping for a new deal.

Overall, it comes across as though Sheridan has more inside information on the subject than he can share, but he feels strongly enough to write a very opinionated piece on the matter.

The bottom line is this: participation on USA Basketball is voluntary. Durant is well within his right not to play for the team. He just handled the timing of his leave very poorly.

Around The Web

  • mannasage

    If any of this crap is true then I’ve lost my respect for Durant. This is what happens when a BUM like Jay-Z makes decisions for you! Durant will regret this for the rest of his life!

  • vern vern

    I don’t think Jay-Z had anything to do with Durant leaving the team. I think the Paul George injury made him think twice about playing and jeopardizing his upcoming season and career.

  • CaneDewey

    The Guy has been a machine and had to put the team on his back when Westbrook was out, not to mention Playoffs and all his other USA Basketball commitments.. He was the reason we won last time and he is deserved a break if he wants it regardless of the reasons…

  • Vermin_Cain

    I am sure Kevin Durant will be crying over some internet moron, losing respect for him.

  • Vermin_Cain

    The audacity of Kevin Durant, a dude who has represented Team USA multiple times to pull out of playing this summer. He also has the nerves to look for better endorsement deals, and looking out for after his playing days. Damn uppity negro.

  • Dongcopter Pilot

    Less opportunity? Yeah selling crack makes it really hard to produce a mixtape.

  • Steve Brewer

    The problem is the timing. He pulled out after they practiced and designed the team around him as the leader. He flaked out unexpectedly and all they could do is scramble and get Rudy Gay. Then he said he was tired and needs to rest up. Kevin Love pulled out before the training camp started and was upfront with his contract situation being the financial reason he couldn’t compete this year. No explanation or other theories of why he decided not to play have been presented. Honesty normally works best.

    No problem with anybody getting better endorsement deals and looking out for them self. Just be honest and say, “On the advice of my agent I have decided to withdraw at this time. Sorry for pulling out late, but due to financial situations that require my utmost attention I am not able to fulfill my commitments to USA basketball at this time.”

    The excuse that I am tired and need to rest up for the season is what has caused the speculation as to why he bailed out.
    Kevin Durant has been a great young man and a fantastic player. The way he elected to handle this whether he decided on his own or with Jay-Z just wasn’t handled as well as most people have come to expect from this ultimate professional. He didn’t just disappoint the fans, (who cares) he shocked his coaches and fellow players according to this article with his late withdrawal. Sorry you felt you had to make it a racial issue.

  • Vermin_Cain

    Many people sold crack, how many of them turned it into a legitimate business?

  • Vermin_Cain

    Then talk about team USA. Don’t bring up decisions he made about his endorsements.

  • topryder1

    What the F do you have to do with how he makes his personal decisions. On top of it you don’t know a damn thing abut Jay-Z either

  • topryder1

    Which white movie star are you speaking of?

  • RJCWA13

    That is all BS. The fact is that after Paul George pretty much ended his career playing “amateur”, “exhibition” basketball every player on Team USA should have quit as USA Basketball should be played by “amateurs” (high school & college players). As far as Durant’s business… SO WHAT! He isn’t going to play BBall for ever so I’m happy that he is thinking about his “BUSINESS”. I hate when people feel that superstar athletes owe Team USA their abilities. Team USA didn’t do anything for them but exploit their talents. I would especially recommend every NBA team to demand that their start players not play in Team USA. Team USA is not part of the NBA. NBA is what really matters. I could care less if we win gold or not in Olympic sports as anyone with a brain knows that basketball is America’s game and we are the best in the world! No matter if we win Gold of not!

  • RJCWA13

    really, regret not playing Olympic basketball. Get real man!

  • RJCWA13


  • RJCWA13

    LOL… Good point brother!

  • RJCWA13

    If he said the truth it would have sounded like this:

    After seeing my friend and fellow NBA player Paul George destroy his future on the court for Olympic Glory, I have decided that I don’t want to end my career playing for Olympic Gold as I would rather end my career playing for an NBA title, which is something that I am committed to achieving before my career ends. I am committed to the OKC and the people of Oklahoma!

  • thunderbolito

    lmao, people know “EVERYTHING” about nba players , how many broke athletics out there wish they did what he is doing, you are right Durant has to take care of Durant.

  • The Prep Report

    I am in complete agreement with you RJCWA13. I am always amazed at the lack of business decision making acumen by athletes. Along comes KD & the new generation of “business” focused athletes (which was led by MJ himself)…This notion that these guys MUST participate for the sake of the USA brand is nonsense. In fact, I would argue to say that the participation of all NBA players is a “conflict of interest.” In no other industry in this country are you allowed (or actually encouraged) to moonlight while in an employee agreement with a business owner. I am of the opinion that Jerry Colangelo needs to step up & protect the remarkable assets that have allowed him to vault to the position that he currently holds. Athletes have been manipulated & taken advantage of by many agents without a proven form of legal recourse. As for Jay Z, I have never seen or met a multi-millionaire BUM, so next time you see one take a photo or video as I will guarantee it will go viral & you will have the last laugh! I have 25 years in sports & entertainment. I may have acquired a small amount of knowledge & insight over that time. ONE LAST THING we are all one race…your ignorance shows when any of you refer to race or play the race card. Ethnicity is a completely separate classification…race is not!

  • The Prep Report

    CHILD PLEASE: dont act like only black & hispanics are the only people whom have made the conscious decision to sell drugs BTW Stacey Keach, Tim “Tool Time” Allen, Christian Slater & even the great Beatle Paul McCartney all have spent time in jail for drug related offenses. unless I am mistaken Jay-Z has never been jailed for drug offenses.

  • Michele A. Bibaud

    You are what your name says

  • Michael Paige

    So it can’t be because of the reasons Durant said let’s see maybe seeing his friend leg break had something to do with it. what if he is worried about contracts one of the things we hear in sports all the time is “It’s a business”. I guess that’s just for the owners to use. If George had plans to do something before getting hurt and he was getting paid for it who makes up that money?

  • John Holmes

    fn’ pussycats