So, I have returned to weigh in on the whole 'do you have a problem with Kevin Durant winning a championship the way he did' situation and I have to tell you.....no, I don't. Well, sort of. Like it or not, current players will always be compared to of course.....LeBron James. Durant does not have a good history of success when it comes to LeBron. In fact....99.9 percent of the league does not have a good history of success against him, but when you're Durant and beating LeBron head to head is the last thing 'on your list' of accomplishments...its a huge thing. Due to Golden State blowing a 3-1 Finals series lead last year, a lot of people forgot about KD and the Thunder also blowing a 3-1 lead on the Warriors in the playoffs. I feel like KD became frustrated at not only playing with a guy who....lets face it...didn't know what type of mood he was going to be in, but also realizing that the his Thunder were never going to be better than the Warriors. In the sports (especially in basketball) world, you never want to be only known as 'good'....your goal as an athlete is to be known as great. For a long time, KD has only been known as being 'good'. Yes, he did win an MVP award, but to (taking this phrase from Jalen Rose) 'sit at the table with the Dons' you have to win a championship.
We as fans tend to push our values and morals, fairly and unfairly, onto athletes and get upset when they don't act the way we THINK we would act in the same situation. An easy parallel is the LeBron led Heat teams that featured other young all stars/franchise players in Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. They also added newly crowned champion Ray Allen from the Boston Celtics. But I'm going to go back further into the 80's for an example. Back in the 80's, there were three teams that by today's standard would be classified as 'super teams'. In the early 80's, you had the Lakers with Magic and Kareem on the West Coast and the 76ers led by Doctor J and Moses Malone on the East Coast. Both teams had multiple future Hall of Famers. You then add the Boston Celtics into the mix when Larry Bird comes into town with Kevin McHale and Danny Ainge. Most of the owners and GM's around the league jockeyed to fix their teams so that they could compete with those giants. But, here's the dirty secret......the giants ALSO wanted to fix their team to give them even more of an advantage. The 'join a super team to win championships' did not start with LeBron and/or this generation. Do you think that Boston needed to add Bill Walton to its bench at the height of their run? Nope. But they did, and he barely played! The Lakers, who were already stacked with an unheard of for the time two MVP candidates in Magic Johnson and Kareem, found a way to also land the best player in the 1982 NBA Draft in James Worthy. You think people back in the day looked at any of the Lakers championships and was like 'Yeah, they were SUPPOSED to win, their team is stacked'? Doubtful. Another case of the rich get richer, was the 1986 Boston Celtics who have a legit case for being maybe the best team of all time. The Celtics made a deal to trade away a good player for the chance to draft Len Bias, who at the time was projected to be just as good as Michael Jordan. Think about that lineup for a second: Dennis Johnson (HOF'er) at point, Len Bias (who was projected to be just as good as Jordan) at the 2 guard, Larry Freaking Bird (HOF'er) at the three, Kevin McHale (HOF'er) at the 4, and Robert Parrish (HOF'er) at Center with Bill Walton (HOF'er) and Danny Ainge coming off of the bench. Now that's a super team!
Back to Durant. Do I as a Wizards fan/season ticket holder have an issue with him signing with Golden State? Yeah, but not because I think he took the 'easy' route for a ring. But because he didn't even sit down with his hometown team that had been scheming for two years and tinkering with the roster so that they would have enough money to sign him. Do I as a basketball fan understand his logic and his decision to run with the Warriors? Yeah, I do. Look, even if you hate the Warriors, they look like they are having fun with a real player's coach on the sideline. Take the example of their (former) best player Stef Curry. The team seems to take on his happy, goofy personality which is awesome in the NBA. A lot of teams have a toxic me first culture and other players pick up on that. Playing in the Western Conference against the Warriors alot, I feel that KD saw that. It would have been foolish for KD to see this awesome opportunity to reach the summit of basketball and say 'You know what? Nah, I'm good. I want to continue to only be good and MAYBE have a shot to win down the road' How many of us would do the same thing? If you can stack the deck to win and take care of your family, most of us would do it in a heartbeat. The other thing is, the Warriors look like they are going to be good for a while also. So KD might end up with multiple championships for his troubles. I will admit that I thought the Warriors would be more fun to watch and experience. While they are very good and score in spurts, 'something' is missing. Obviously that 'something' missing isn't effectiveness. They only lost 1 game....read that again....during the 2017 playoffs. In basketball, anything is possible and can happen, but unless a major injury happens or the team starts falling out with each other, its very hard to imagine the Warriors not being champs or close to it for the next 3 to 5 years.
So, I say: Congrats KD. You finally won one and got the monkey off of your back. But know that, you and Stef are now the hunted. Teams are going to try and 'stack the deck' so that they can compete. Knowing LeBron, he may figure out a way to form ANOTHER super team to compete next year. With King James, its hard to count him out. He has played in the last 8 (yes 8) NBA Finals. All of this 'KD took the easy way out' talk will go away soon with the next batch of free agents and team reformation coming in July. I just hope other teams see this Golden State team and want to win as bad as the people who now are Golden State haters......like me. Please remember to take care of yourselves,