Kevin Durant. When you hear his name, there are many other names surrounding it. Quitter. Snake. Cupcake. Many people have taken to talking down on Kevin Durant after he left his team of nine years, the Oklahoma City Thunder, to go to “superteam” the Golden State Warriors in 2016.
Durant was a superstar on the Thunder. In 2012, he led them all the way to the NBA Finals, only to be beaten by the Miami Heat. In January 2014, Durant averaged 35.9 points per game all while scoring 30 or more points in 12 straight games. This included a career-high 54 points against the Golden State Warriors.
In Durant’s final seasons with the Thunder, he had many career setbacks. He was diagnosed with a Jones fracture, he injured his ankle and he had to undergo foot surgery. But Durant still showed the world that even though he had many reasons to give up, he was the best.
During his final season with the Oklahoma City Thunder he averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and five assists, leading his team to 55 wins and the third seed in the West. Kevin Durant was on Oklahoma City’s very first professional basketball team. He was with the Thunder for nine years and was constantly professional on and off the court.
Even after all his success with his first team, he wanted something else. He wanted a championship. All the greatest players in the NBA have championships. It is one of the only sports where championships play the biggest factor in becoming one of the greats. Durant is easily a top three player in the league, but he wasn’t winning championships. He was tired of losing in the playoffs.
Basketball is a team game. However, the Thunder relied on 1-on-1 basketball instead of team basketball, which is what always hurt them against good team basketball like the Spurs and Warriors. He wanted to play for a team that moved the ball around and played unselfishly, and the Warriors established themselves as one of those teams.
Durant saw how easily they got open shots and how much fun it was. So after nine years with the same team and still no championships, he decided to join a team that fit his style and was what he wanted.
“I understood cognitively that I was facing a crossroads in my evolution as a player and as a man, and that it came with exceptionally difficult choices,” Durant writes in his tell-all article, My Next Chapter.
He released this article July 4, 2016 to tell his fans that he had decided to join the Golden State Warriors.
“I will miss Oklahoma City, and the role I have had in building this remarkable team. I will forever cherish the relationships within the organization — the friends and teammates that I went to war with on the court for nine years, and all the fans and people of the community,” said Durant.
The NBA is a business, and he saw an opportunity in a culture that would better suit his needs on the court. He felt as though he had made the right decision to continue his growth as a player going to a new city and a new team. That’s how any job is. If another job fits you better, you take it. But that’s not how the fans saw it.
Jerseys were burned, angry tweets were shared and the basketball world went crazy. Kevin Durant’s new teammates were thrilled to have him once the news dropped. Draymond Green tweeted, “Welcome to THE FAMILY @KDTrey5 let’s just do what we are setting out to do!! #Blockoutthenoise”
But a lot of other professional basketball players were skeptical of the move. Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics tweeted, “If u can’t beat em join em,” since many people believe that Durant only joined the Golden State Warriors to get his first ring, considering they beat the Thunder in the Conference Finals of Durant’s final season. But he is tired of getting all this hate for his decision.
After a year of lying low and taking the heat for his move, Durant is tired of being told that he made the wrong decision. He has recently tweeted that he did not like playing for the OKC coach Billy Donovan, and the roster wasn’t good. But the tweets weren’t enough. He is also dropping some new shoes with a special something for his haters. On the soles of the shoes there are some of the names he’s been called in a list. These include: Weak, Quitter, Doesn’t Care About Fans, KowarD, Snake and Traitor. On top of the list, in yellow, are his scores from each game in the finals, “2017 Champs”, and “Finals Most Valuable Player.”
People knew how good he was, but they forgot how great he was and is until the NBA finals. He was a four-time scoring champion, an MVP and arguably one of the greatest college basketball players at the University of Texas, even though he played only one season.
In that one season, he averaged 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game for the Longhorns, and he was recognized as the unanimous national player of the year, winning the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith College Player of the Year Award and all eight other recognized honors and awards. This made Durant the first freshman to win any of the national player of the year awards. He went to the best team in the NBA and became their best player, even better than the previous two-time MVP Steph Curry. He immediately fit right in with the Warriors and lead them to an NBA championship and dominated the finals.
At the end of the day, Durant loves the game of basketball. All he cares about is playing the game he loves. He is sick of all the hate he’s getting from everyone. Who wouldn’t get annoyed of getting attacked constantly by everyone around the world? He just wants to play basketball and prove to everyone that he is a great player that made a smart decision. You can hate him for his decision. It is your right to voice your opinion, but you can’t argue how great of a player he is on the court and off the court.