Kevin Durant is getting into the soccer ownership business.
Durant purchased a minority stake in MLS soccer team the Philadelphia Union, according to Sports Business Daily’s Mark J. Burns. Burns reports that Durant’s stake is somewhere between 1-5 percent. It’s unclear whether he purchased the stake individually or through his Thirty Five Ventures business, which he co-founded with his manager, Rich Kleiman.
The Union were founded in 2008 and began play in MLS in 2010. They are owned primarily by Keystone Sports and Entertainment LLC.
Durant is a 10-time All-Star and was the 2013-2014 NBA MVP. His career earnings in basketball are over $190 million, and that does not include the $164 million on his Brooklyn Nets contract. He joins Russell Wilson as an athlete to own a minority stake in an MLS team (Wilson is a part-owner of the Seattle Sounders).
- Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is not expected to play this season despite having a significant amount of additional time to recover from his his torn Achilles, but the news about his rehab continues to be all positive.
In a recent interview with a sports show in his native land of New Zealand, Nets general manager Sean Marks would not commit to when Durant might play again. However, he did say the two-time NBA Finals MVP has looked “pretty damn good” in workouts.
In yet another interview with a New Zealand sports show last week, Sean Marks wouldn't talk about a @KDTrey5 return to play but said, "I can tell you now he looks pretty damn good and I'm excited about him being on the floor at Barclays in front of that fan base."
— NetsDaily (@NetsDaily) May 22, 2020
Durant initially had no shot at playing during the 2019-20 season, but the postponement of play has led to speculation that he could suit up if the Nets reach the playoffs. Marks fueled that speculation by leaving the door open for Durant to play this year, but Durant’s agent and business partner threw cold water on the talk last week.
The Nets would be wise to stick to the plan with Durant, which was to give him an entire season off to recover. It shouldn’t matter if that season ends two or three months later than expected, even if Kyrie Irving is also dropping hints that he is ready to return from his injury.
Brooklyn currently has the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, but they’re not winning a championship without a healthy Durant and Irving. Waiting for a fresh start next season is still the smart thing to do.
Will Kevin Durant play if and when the NBA season resumes? It continues to sound like a long shot at best.
Rich Kleiman, Durant’s agent and business manager, said he doesn’t anticipate the Brooklyn Nets forward playing until the start of the 2020-21 season, whenever that happens.
“I don’t want to speak for him, but no,” Kleiman said, via Sam Amick and Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “It’s unrealistic. I think anyone should realize that, when you’re looking at just the circumstances and just what he’s coming back from.”
Speculation began to intensify when Nets GM Sean Marks left the door open to a Durant return before the end of the 2019-20 season. Since then, we’ve heard a lot of dissenting opinions. Durant and Kleiman are close, and Kleiman saying it’s probably not happening is probably the firmest denial we’ve gotten yet.
Several NBA stars want to resume the current season, according to a report.
Yahoo’s Chris B. Haynes reported on Tuesday that Chris Paul, who is the president of the players’ association, arranged a call with many other top players in the league to discuss the resumption of the season. Haynes says the call included LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook.
All players agreed that they wanted to resume the current season when it is safe. The belief is that the superstars all being on the same page will influence the direction of the league.
With the exception of Curry, Durant and Lillard, the players on that call mostly are on championship-contending teams, and therefore would have more incentive to resume the season. Haynes says many players not on playoff contenders feel the season should only resume with playoff teams to minimize the risk of virus exposure.
One issue some players are considering is that the next collective bargaining agreement would be negatively affected if the season were not resumed. That is a concern that was raised by one veteran player.
Kevin Durant spent his one year in college at Texas, but it seems his heart was set on a different destination before he made his final decision.
Durant was heavily recruited by the North Carolina Tar Heels in 2006, and Durant even took an official visit to see the Heels beat Duke. Durant’s high school roommate Ty Lawson ended up committing, and North Carolina hoped Durant would join him.
“They were recruiting me heavy with (Lawson),” Durant said, via Ross Martin of 247 Sports. “They were expecting us to come together. I am going on official visits. I went to a game where they beat Duke at the buzzer. And they won a National Championship that year, my junior year in high school. So I was like, ‘Man I want to go to Carolina.'”
Durant would have joined a loaded Carolina squad that featured the likes of Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green. Ultimately, that helped drive him away from the school, as he feared he wouldn’t get the playing time he felt he deserved.
“They were stacked though. They had a nice senior class. They went to the Elite Eight that year,” Durant said. “Tyler Hansbrough was there. Danny Green. All those dudes. So I would have gotten kind of lost. Not lost. Not lost, but I would have been playing 25 minutes instead of 40 minutes like I should have been playing.”
Durant starred for a year at Texas, became the No. 2 pick in the draft, and has since become a league MVP. He also very much took to his eventual college home. Putting him at North Carolina would have been tantalizing, and he may have helped them win a title, but things worked out for him in the long term.
The lengthy postponement of the NBA season has led to some chatter that Kevin Durant could be far enough along in his recovery to play this year, but apparently the Brooklyn Nets are not considering that option.
During his podcast this week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski spoke about the risk of star players getting injured if the NBA rushes into the resumption of the season after so much time off. Woj also touched on the idea of the interruption giving Durant more time to heal, insisting that Durant playing this season is “not happening.”
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 10, 2020
“What about in a shortened preseason (next year)?” Wojnarowski asked. “If you really want to hurt TV ratings next year? Let’s rush everybody back this year. Let’s get key players injured and now have to hold them off and have their starts pushed back … Guys, Kevin Durant is not coming back to the Nets this year. That’s not happening. They’re not playing him…”
Nets general manager Sean Marks recently made some comments about Durant’s recovery that fueled speculation of Durant returning this season, but that would be a risky move for the team. They have already committed to allowing Durant a full season to recover from his torn Achilles, and the safest approach for them would be to stick to that plan.
Durant tore his Achilles in the first place as a result of rushing back from an injury. We know one person close to him who thinks it would be unwise for him to play this season, and there’s a strong chance both Durant and the Nets agree.
Kevin Durant made a fan’s graduation special.
Durant video-chatted with a fan over Instagram to congratulate the young man over his graduation. Durant praised the fan’s girlfriend, who worked hard to set up the chat. The video is below – just beware of a curse word at the end.
Fan got emotional on IG live after KD surprised him for graduation. His girlfriend is a real one for setting this up
(via TheIsaiahpugh/IG) pic.twitter.com/Kddzwfsyxh
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 10, 2020
Durant probably gets these kinds of requests all the time, and they’re not easy to fulfill. The man’s girlfriend must have worked really hard to get Durant to do that. And seeing the Brooklyn Nets star deliver like that for a fan definitely helps his public image at a time when he could use it.