Durant won't make lockout decision just yet
Updated: 2011-07-14 07:59
By Lei Lei (China Daily)
Oklahoma City Thunder's all-star forward, Kevin Durant, plays with a young Chinese basketball fan at Dongdan Basketball Park in Beijing on Wednesday. Durant joined Chinese NBA player Yi Jianlian for a "basketball night" on the final day of his China Tour, which was organized by sports giant Nike. Cui Meng / China Daily
TIANJIN - Oklahoma City Thunder's all-star forward Kevin Durant said he won't make any decision about his future plans while the NBA lockout continues.
"I am going to take it slow, everybody is going to wait to see how this plays out," said Durant on Tuesday in Tianjin, which was the third stop of his six-day China tour.
As the NBA lockout continues, some players have already taken steps to ply their trade overseas.
New Jersey Nets star Deron Williams was the first NBA all-star to agree to play in Europe if the lockout continues into the 2011-2012 season. He has reached an agreement with Turkish club Besiktas.
Durant said more and more players might follow Williams' example.
"We'll see, I would like to try something new," said Durant, a two-time NBA scoring champion.
"But, of course, my first option is playing in the NBA. So now I want to see how this lockout goes. If not, I will make a decision on where I am going to play basketball.
"D-Will, you know, he made his decision quick and I am sure you are going to see a lot of guys follow in his footsteps. So, he's very brave to be the first guy to do it."
Durant, 22, is supporting sports giant Nike's summer campaign - Use Sport, JUST DO IT, in China. He is encouraging young hoops fans and players to use the sport to make a difference.
On Tuesday afternoon, he visited the Tianjin People's Stadium to meet and share his basketball stories with about 1,600 passionate fans. He also met volunteers from the GameChangers program, in which Nike assists university students in using sport to give back to their communities.
Durant was impressed by the enthusiasm of the young local basketball fans and said it was "tough" to see the retirement of China's basketball icon, Yao Ming.
"Tough, man, tough to see a great player and a great competitor like Yao Ming leave the game after being injured a few years," he said.
"As a player, you come into the league and the first thing somebody asks you is what you want to do when you get here? A lot of players say, 'I want to dunk over Yao Ming'. So you can tell how much impact he has had on the game.
"He comes in, he works every day and you can tell that he's never in trouble and he sets such a good example for the players coming into the league."
For Durant, Yao, who is likely to announce his retirement due to injury next week, deserves to be a Hall of Famer.
"It was exciting to watch such a tall guy that could shoot the basketball and put so much pressure on your defense by playing down low, and also there was his defense, too," Durant said.
"He did so much for the game, and he does deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. He was so dominant in the game, and he changed the game just by running up and down the floor."
(China Daily 07/14/2011 page24)