In a comeback victory over the Detroit Pistons, Kevin Durant had just finished a stellar 43-point performance when he encountered a player who many had predicted until a few years ago would follow in his footsteps.
The sophomore from Eastern Michigan was in the basement of Little Caesars Arena waiting to speak with Durant after finishing a game himself, winning 79-77 over Detroit Mercy with 19 points.
Before the Brooklyn Nets left Detroit on Sunday, Bates received words of encouragement from Kyrie Irving and Durant.
After a gun was discovered in the car Bates was driving in September; he was recently given 18 months of probation. Last week, he entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge; according to The Detroit News, the conviction will be erased from his record if he completes probation.
Durant told the source, “I like that he’s going the complete opposite route in life.”. “Transferring from Memphis, leaving school early, and getting arrested. A lot of s*** was encountered. To truly understand where you are in life, you must go through some crap.
“He is currently playing excellent basketball; He has endured a lot of crap. He has a little more substance. “
To be clear, Durant wasn’t supporting Bates’s arrest. Simply put, he outlined Bates’ journey and stressed how challenging it is to advance, despite talent and accomplishment. It was more than just passing encouragement for Bates; there appears to be a genuine investment in him because Durant has watched basketball at every level.
Bates won the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award and appeared on the Sports Illustrated cover in 2020, but he still needs to deliver on his promise. He is averaging 18 points and four rebounds per game for Eastern Michigan while shooting 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range.
Bates is tall and slender like Durant was growing up in Washington, D.C., and he was a prep star from Ypsilanti, Michigan, with a smooth jumper. , area. Durant resisted the urge to attend college locally and didn’t seriously consider signing with the Washington Wizards during free agency. He believes that Bates might benefit from living closer to home.
As Emoni posed for pictures with Durant and Irving, Elgin Bates, his father, was by his side.
“He’s home, I see. He has a support system”, Durant said to the source. “It could be worse if you’re not at home, don’t have that support system, and lag behind some other guys. It’s encouraging to see him having fun right now. “