Kevin Durant built everything in Oklahoma City.
As the first elite superstar in their franchise history, he put up numbers they’ve never seen before. He put up with Russell Westbrook’s shot selection and over-aggression. He put up with the Thunder when they traded his good friend James Harden for players that weren’t relevant to the team. He didn’t cause chaos when the city’s newspaper deemed him as “Mr. Unreliable” after a tough playoff performance. He handled his frustrations with coaching well and hasn’t complained to Sam Presti when things didn’t go his way.
Durant gave over a million dollars to tornado relief programs in Oklahoma City and more money on the side to the homeless.
However, now it’s easy to hate on him according to several NBA fans across the world. Some call him a coward, others call him a traitor. It’s ironic that he made this decision on Independence Day, yet people are bashing him for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant isn’t a bad guy. He wants to win and realized that it wasn’t possible with the Thunder anymore.
They were one win away from the NBA Finals under a new coach and couldn’t hold on to a 3-1 lead against a Warriors team that looked like anything but a 73-win squad. Like the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
And Durant did just that.
Did he go out on national television and do that? No. Did the Thunder know that he was leaving before he made it public to the rest of the world? Yes.
That’s the difference in Durant’s Decision compared to The Decision.
Durant is doing what’s best for him. He’s been in the NBA for a decade and is 27 years old. He’s not getting any younger and has already had injury concerns over the past couple of years. His window will close sooner than later and joining a team with three other All-Stars almost solidifies he’ll win a championship before it’s all said and done.
The 2014 MVP isn’t from Oklahoma City and never promised to bring a title to them. He’s said stuff on social media in regards to other players leaving teams and it does look hypocritical. However, you can’t hold someone accountable for what they said on Twitter six years ago.
Now Durant joins a Warriors team that’s already hated by many basketball fans. From Stephen Curry’s antics on the court to Draymond Green’s bad boy persona that many outside of the Bay Area believe he has, Golden State has become a villain. LeBron James has become the league protagonist. Fresh off the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first NBA title, James has a tougher task ahead of him. With the Eastern Conference improving and the mighty Warriors becoming even better, non-Warrior fans deem the once lovable Durant and Warriors as enemies.
Regardless, the product on the court will be entertaining to watch on any night they aren’t playing your favorite team. Curry, Green, Durant and Klay Thompson have yet to come out saying they’ll win four, or five, or six or seven titles. After that historic Finals collapse, they’re in no place to be running their mouth. But the addition of Durant makes them league villains and it’s not even close.
The Miami Heat trio of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh was fun to watch yet universally hated. They didn’t last too long, though. James went back home, Wade starting hitting a wall and Bosh has had health concerns.
These Warriors are all 28-years-old or younger. They have already won a title and have now added the third best player in the world to their roster. In what’s one of the biggest power moves in the NBA history, the Golden State Warriors have become the bad guys and it’s a role that they’ll embrace come October.