Kevin Durant had a harrowing experience at the 2007 NBA Draft Combine—infamously failing to bench-press 185 pounds—and says the event is irrelevant.
“Stay your ass home, work out and get better on your own time,” suggests Durant, who would go on to be the second overall pick.
Uncensored Kevin Durant to ESPN on combine being a waste for top prospects; coaches giggling when couldn't bench 185 https://t.co/M5F3KLK0Oi
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 11, 2017
KD argues that the multi-day showcase of the top prospects can’t properly gauge a player’s potential.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Durant said, as he readjusted his body to get comfortable in his seat. “All the strength coaches were laughing at me and s—. They were giggling with each other that I couldn’t lift 185 pounds, and I was like, ‘All right, keep laughing. Keep laughing.’ It was a funny thing, because I was the only one that couldn’t lift it and I was struggling to lift it. I was embarrassed at that point, but I’m like, ‘Give me a basketball, please. Give me a ball.'”
Even at age 19, he didn’t understand the objective of having players engage in bench-pressing. Putting the basketball through the hoop was his specialty — not raising a 45-pound bar with two 45-pound and two 25-pound weight plates.
“I knew nobody in that draft could guard me one-on-one,” he said with the utmost confidence. “I knew that for sure. I knew that. And I knew that you don’t need to [bench-press] to lift a basketball up. And I knew that this wasn’t football, where that stuff matters. I knew as a basketball player I had a lot of skill, more skill than anybody in the draft. And I knew that if I worked as hard as I could, then that s— wouldn’t matter at the end of the day. It still doesn’t matter. I was ranked the last person in camp, drills-wise. I was the worst player, and the first player didn’t get drafted. That tells you a lot about the significance of that s—.”
“But hey, like I said, I knew I was the most skilled player there,” Durant said. “I knew I was the best player in the draft. I knew my skill set was a little different from everybody else and [they] couldn’t guard me. [They] still can’t.”