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Oklahoma City Thunder preview: Why Kevin Durant will remain the Minuteman

KEVIN DURANT — Only eight players in NBA history played more minutes the first four years of their career. Six are in the Hall of Fame.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Published: December 18, 2011

Not that any further evidence was needed to prove his love for the game, but no NBA player logged more miles this offseason looking for a pickup game than Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant.

The two-time scoring champ loves him some hoops. It shows during the season and certainly didn't disappear during the league's 149-day lockout, when Durant ventured from China, to the Philippines, New York City, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Long Beach and Oklahoma City to strut his stuff.

Just for giggles, he threw in flag football games in Stillwater and Akron, Ohio.

At Thunder media day last Tuesday, no player's smile was wider than Durant's. Durant's legs might soon be wobbling, but his enthusiasm is rock solid.

"(I) feel like a rookie just getting drafted, you know," Durant said. "We took so much time off, but I'm excited fans get to enjoy the game again that we get to play the game we love. I'm glad it (the lockout) got over sooner than I thought. I thought we would be out at least end of January, but I'm glad we're back."

Durant faces his most demanding NBA season yet as the Thunder squeezes 66 regular-season games into 118 days. Though there are 16 fewer games than a normal season, they are played in a much smaller time frame.

He's only 23, but there's already significant mileage on the Durant odometer.

Only eight players in history played more total minutes (11,930) or averaged more minutes (38.0) in their first four NBA seasons than Durant. Six of them — names like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird — are in the Hall of Fame.

Then there's his international experience. In the summer of 2010, Durant and Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook were teammates on the gold medal Team USA squad at the FIBA World Championships. There were occasions the team played on back-to-back-to-back days.

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