Team USA has arrived in Tokyo for the start of the Summer Olympics and while there’s no question America’s roster is talented enough to bring home gold (even after losing Kevin Love to injury and Bradley Beal to COVID protocols), their team chemistry remains a work in progress. Already facing questions after a sluggish exhibition slate (they went just 2-2, losing to Nigeria and Australia before bouncing back with wins over Spain and Argentina), the United States now have a potential feud on their hands with teammates Kevin Durant and Bam Adebayo getting testy at Thursday’s practice.
In a warmup or practice setting, it’s customary for a player, after sinking a bucket, to have their ball returned to them. Durant was expecting that courtesy after draining a corner three, but instead Adebayo collected the ball, believing it to be his own. The Nets All-Star later confronted Adebayo, demanding his ball back. When Adebayo refused, things got heated.
“This is a girl ball,” Adebayo insisted.
“No, it’s not!” said Durant, raising his voice.
After much convincing—and a choice word or two—Adebayo eventually relented, reluctantly trading balls with his flustered teammate. That could have been the end of it, but Durant, who has been known to push the envelope on social media, couldn’t let it go, tweeting that Adebayo needed to “learn some respect.”
Adebayo didn’t back down though, accusing Durant of “lying” while dragging another teammate—Damian Lillard—through the mud.
Knowing Durant’s reputation for trolling, this could all be an act, a staged faux controversy meant to rile up the Twitter masses. But if Durant is truly this petty—and Adebayo is bold enough to defy him—Team USA could be in for a long two weeks in Japan.