The latest Earth shattering move from Kevin Durant reminds us of just how far the NBA has come in terms of selfishness.
Once upon a time in this world of ours, loyalty stood for something. A loyalty to your friends, family and the people you work with on an everyday basis, was substantial.
For those who support Kevin Durant’s decision to take his basketball skills to the Bay Area, the loyalty discussion becomes a bit foggy.
Supporters of the move haven’t lost respect for Durant. They believe it was a sound business decision for KD. A 2-year (1-year LBJ modeled) deal to test the waters with Draymond and the Splash Brothers could be just what the doctor ordered for the 27-year old NBA superstar.
These supporters can spout their evidence all they want. It still doesn’t mean this was good for basketball.
For the hardened NBA fan who understands what makes this league function, Durant’s move to Golden State can be viewed as nothing less than a sad, dark day in the history of basketball.
For the first time in a very long time, the NBA showcased a great product in the spring. The playoffs weren’t great. The Western Conference Finals and the NBA Finals, however, were legendary. Sure, there was only one competitive contest of seven finals games, but the storylines were overwhelming.
LeBron James was historic en route to bringing home a title to Cleveland – those starving fans of his home city. Stephen Curry and the Warriors were looking to complete the best season in Association history. The back and forth on the court (and in the media) created a semi-rivalry that old-school fans once remembered.
That is the most important thought – the rivalry aspect.
What Durant did on Jul. 4 of 2016 took away from the rivalry aspect of the NBA. In one fell swoop the Oklahoma City Thunder were crossed off any relevant championship list. This is a shame considering their incredible talent and what fans of the NBA could have had for many years with the Thunder and the Dubs.
The team who was just 48 minutes away from the finals, is now done. Stick a fork in them.
Instead of four or five legitimate championship contenders, we now have three or four.
It doesn’t matter, says the Durant supporter. He did what was right for him. He made this business move in effort to win a title, something he has yet to do in nine seasons with the Thunder.
This train-of-thought is garbage. It’s a rationalization of today’s superstar – the scared superstar who’s afraid of being left out in the cold without a ring.
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It’s almost like Durant was fast asleep from the Summer of 2010 through the Summer of 2014.
LeBron made this very same mistake. The youngster suddenly got scared. He felt the best business move for his legend was to head off to Miami and win as many titles as possible. Whether his intentions were to always return home or not will never be clear. What is clear, though, is the respect the man was accredited with once he finally did it right.
He returned home, with his people and his organization. He finally did it the right way and is now appropriately adored.
Has Kevin Durant not learned anything from recent history? Whatever the Warriors do the next two seasons, it’ll be accomplished on Curry’s turf, not Durant’s. If the Dubs go 76-6 this coming season, it’ll be Curry and the Warriors, never Durant and the Warriors.
Durant decided he wasn’t great enough to get it done in Oklahoma City. He decided he, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Thunder weren’t good enough to get it done.
What most of these Durant supporters don’t understand is that Jordan actually had to take his lumps. He took beat-downs from the Detroit Pistons on an annual basis. He was forced to see Larry Bird step on his throat in the Eastern Conference every spring.
It wasn’t until Pippen matured and the beasts of the east died down that MJ finally broke through.
This mentality is dead in the NBA. It’s a solid part of why there are no rivalries. (The Charmin soft attitude of league rules is the main reason, but I digress.)
A guy like Jordan would have wanted to stomp on your throat or die trying. He’d never join the enemy like Durant just did.
But hey, if you’re a Durant supporter and believe this move was the right one, just understand history. Understand that the NBA is fast losing rivalries thanks to these type of “business decisions.”
Just like Miami in 2010, there’s a solid chance the Dubs don’t even win the finals in year one.
It doesn’t matter though. Today was a sad day for the NBA, much like the day “The Decision” invaded our living rooms.
The competitor understands obstacles stand in the way of greatness. He or she becomes obsessed with reaching the mountaintop with his/her people. They build and they maneuver. They understand if somebody leaves (possibly Westbrook), a plan must be put in place to overcome.
They don’t run.
The real competitor wants to beat the best, not join the best.
LeBron James eventually learned his lesson, culminating in one of the more incredible sports stories in quite some time. Whether Durant eventually learns his or not, we won’t know for quite some time.
Quite frankly, though, it doesn’t matter. Today is a sad day for basketball fans. Championship chasing is more important than real, knock your ass on the ground competition.