After being dethroned in the 2004 Olympics, the USA Men's Basketball team was determined to regain their crown in the 2008 tournament. The "Redeem Team" idea was born because it was about the Americans claiming the throne once again. The US assembled a roster full of determined and motivated players who were considered the best of the best.
Kevin Durant believes he should've made the team.
While the Redeem Team was perfectly assembled (they did, after all, sweep the tournament), one player that felt he should've been part was Kevin Durant. KD may have been only 19 years old at that time and knew he probably wouldn't have gotten as many minutes, but he still felt he was good enough to be considered for a roster spot.
"I was disappointed not making the  Olympic team. I felt I played my way onto the team. Nobody really expected me to play that well in the practices, but I was 19 and I felt like I got snubbed. I felt disrespected, and I was like, 'Nah, this can't go down like that. It's not happening again.' I was just so upset that I wasn't part of the Redeem Team. You could tell those guys had so much fun playing with each other and I wanted that even if I was on the bench. I just wanted to learn, soak that energy up from those guys," Durant said, as reported by CBS's Sam Quinn.
In the summer of 2008, Durant was coming off a season in which he won the league's Rookie of the Year award. He was already averaging 20.3 points, 2.4 assists, and 4.4 rebounds a game, which was considered outstanding for a rookie. KD was probably not selected because Coach Mike Krzyzewski's squad was already filled with potent scorers in Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, etc.
Life came full circle for KD
In 2012, Durant finally got his wish and made it to Team USA, who defended the goal medal at the London Olympics. This was the same tournament where KD averaged 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.
It was clear that KD was not only viewed as a superstar but also an NBA all-time great in the making. Currently, Durant ranks as the USA basketball team's all-time leader in points (435 total points). Life came full circle for him after he also got his chance to lead the USA team again in 2016 and 2021 to a gold medal finish.
Durant went from being disappointed about not making it to the Redeem Team to leading them to a gold medal in 2012, 2016, and 2021.