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Durant Pours Praise On European Game

11 September 2015
EUROBASKET 2015
Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant did not spend a huge amount of time in Berlin this week and only watched one game from up close at EuroBasket 2015, but in any case his opinion of European players and national teams has already been formed for some time.

The Team USA and Oklahoma City Thunder superstar, who was in the crowd at the Group B game between Germany and Spain, feels an enormous appreciation for European basketball.

And his knowledge of the game on this side of the Atlantic is much more profound than you might expect.

"The game is growing, you can see more and more guys from Europe coming over to the NBA and having a huge impact,"Durant said in an exclusive interview for TV show FIBA World Basketball.

"It's great to see because there are a lot of great players here.

14. Dirk Nowitzki (Germany)
"Dirk Nowitzki is a guy who I've always looked up to, as a tall shooter, making me believe that it could happen in the NBA" - Durant

"I could name 20 [European] guys right now who have helped make our league (the NBA) better.

"I had the opportunity to watch some EuroBasket games on TV.

"This is my first time coming to see it in person but I know all the guys, I've played against them in the World Championship and the Olympics."

Two of those guys in particular, the lean American forward has faced multiple times since he started his NBA career.

Durant was excited to watch the match-up between Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol on the final day of action in Berlin.

"They're two great players in our league who I think are going to be hall-of-famers," Durant asserted.

"They have inspired a lot of people all across the world.

4. Pau Gasol (Spain)
"Just playing with him, he is a very skilled big who is different to anybody I had seen in the league for a while" - Durant on Pau Gasol

"They are unique players.

"Dirk Nowitzki is a guy who I've always looked up to, as a tall shooter, making me believe that it could happen in the NBA.

"So I really appreciate him for just being who he is.

"Pau Gasol, I had the chance to get to know him a little bit more last summer when we tried to get him to OKC.

"Just playing with him, he is a very skilled big who is different to anybody I had seen in the league for a while.

"He is a tremendous passer, shooter, a high IQ player."

Durant's last game in a Team USA uniform was the 2012 Olympics Games final, as he did not take in last summer's 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

In the London Games, USA defeated Spain 107-100 in an epic clash behind Durant's 30 players to defend the gold medal they had won in Beijing, also against the European team.

"They had a lot of players there who caused match-up problems for us but we were able to overcome that and bring the gold medal home," Durant said.

"I think that Spain have been together for so long, you could just tell that they had been playing together since they were kids.

"Once you have that type of chemistry, it's hard to break it.

"They now have [Nikola] Mirotic who is a stretch-4 and can do a lot with the basketball, they have Pau and Marc Gasol down low.

"Sergio Llull is a great defender, Serge Ibaka who is of course my team-mate at OKC and I know more about him, or [Juan Carlos] Navarro."

Durant also spoke in Berlin about his participation in the Team USA summer camp in Las Vegas, the upcoming Rio Olympics and his NBA season.

You can watch the full interview in an upcoming edition of FIBA World Basketball.

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