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News » Durant still rooting for Beasley

Durant still rooting for Beasley

Durant still rooting for BeasleyKevin Durant grew speechless last summer, unsure of what to say to his childhood friend and former teammate who had fallen on hard times.

Durant wanted to reach out to Michael Beasley, but what would he say? The Thunder's star had never been admitted into a rehabilitation center as Beasley was in mid-August, never felt like it's not worth living and never got so frustrated that he needed to publicly declare that the world was against him.

"I didn't want to be the guy that said the same things everybody else had said," Durant said. "So I just prayed for him. That's all I could do because I didn't know what to tell him."

Durant does know how close Beasley came to not being here, in sound mind and spirit as his Miami Heat gears up to take on the Thunder tonight at American Airlines Arena.

That's why, for Durant, tonight's contest will take on greater significance. Why when the two embrace shortly before tip-off, Durant will smile and be grateful. Why before trying to beat in Beasley's brains, Durant will rejoice at the sight of the friend who is attempting to recapture his Basketball brilliance while leaving behind the mischievous monkey business.

"I'm just happy to see him doing well and bouncing back and not letting it faze him," said Durant, who has known Beasley since they were 10 year olds in suburban Washington. "Because he easily could have broke down. He didn't. He fought through it. God tested him, and I think he's passed it."

Durant said he remains close with Beasley but admitted there isn't much time to be sociable during the season. The two players who were teammates on the same AAU squad as youngsters, however, routinely spend much their off-seasons together. Last summer was no different before Beasley left for Houston to train and work out in a new environment.

Then Durant heard the news of Beasley checking into a rehab center, and like everyone else, he saw the controversial postings on Beasley's now-terminated Twitter account.

Beasley posed for a picture showing off a new tattoo on his back while a questionable plastic bag sat on a nearby table. Beasley also wrote somber messages on his account, including, "Feelin like it's not worth livin!!!!! I'm done," and "I feel like the whole world is against me. I can't win for losin."

Beasley checked out of rehab in mid-September, about a week before the Heat began the season. Although a second peculiar photo emerged in October of Beasley and a woman asleep on a boat, Beasley has largely kept his name out of the news.

"I'm happy for him," Durant said. "This summer, people wrote him off and said he wasn't going to last in the league. But he worked hard in training camp and earned a starting position."

Durant said he didn't think pressure of being the No. 2 overall pick was an issue for Beasley because he joined a team that had a star in Dwyane Wade and later added Shawn Marion.

"He went through some tough times but everybody does. His is just out in the public," Durant said. "But he's learned from it, I think, and he's become a different person. I just think being young, you make decisions without thinking sometimes. It happens. But I think he's been handling it well, and I think he's going to do well."

Thunder AT Heat

Time: 6:30 tonight

Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami

Television: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722).

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM.

Live blog:

Three things to know

Heat guard Dwyane Wade (29.7 points per game) and Thunder forward Kevin Durant (28.1 points per game) are the league's third- and fourth-leading scorers, respectively.

The Heat is the fourth-best defensive team in the league, holding opponents to 90.1 points per game.

Miami's second-leading scorer, center Jermaine O'Neal, missed the Heat's last game with a hip injury.

Probable starters

Thunder (5-5) Pos. Player Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast

G Russell Westbrook 6-3 15.6 5.3 7.6 G Thabo Sefolosha 6-7 6.2. 5.4 1.8 F Kevin Durant 6-9 28.1 7.4 2.4 F Jeff Green 6-9 15.2 5.7 0.9 C Nenad Krstic 7-0 10.0 5.0 0.4

Heat (7-2)

G Mario Chalmers 6-1 8.6 1.8 4.8 G Dwyane Wade 6-4 29.7 4.6 5.0 F Quentin Richardson 6-6 8.4 5.2 1.3 F Michael Beasley 6-10 13.1 5.9 1.0 C Joel Anthoney 6-9 1.9 2.9 0.4

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: November 20, 2009


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