I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out why the denizens of social media continue to hammer Kevin Durant for winning the NBA title. You could see it coming even before the Finals – he loses, and he’s not built to win titles; he wins and he only did it by joining a 73-win team.
Why are we denigrating Kevin Durant for taking control of his career and improving his life?
Fans fail to look at it from Durant’s point of view – the only thing fans and media care about are titles, so why not go where you can win a title? Why not take control of your future instead of letting a thrifty owner or bumbling GM decide it for you?
I’ve been asking myself for months why fans could possibly hate NBA Super Teams, and I’ve narrowed it down to this: Fans are scared that the young black superstars of the NBA have all the power, and they get to pick their teammates and their city.
Players have been chasing rings since the 90s. Charles Barkley jumped to Phoenix and then Houston trying to win a title. Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler, Gary Payton and Karl Malone all made moves. But they get a pass from fans because, “those guys did it late in their career. They were old!”
Do you see how silly this sounds? Players are allowed to take control of their career late, after they’ve tried with the team that drafted them. Why do fans feel the need to control player movement of young, black, basketball superstars? Nobody’s breaking contracts trying to form Super Teams; they’re serving their rookie contract, getting an extension, and then deciding they tried their best, but it’s time to move on.
What’s wrong with that?
Does this mean Anthony Davis must stay at least 10 years in New Orleans before trying to win elsewhere? How long must Karl-Anthony Towns stay in Minnesota before he’s able to leave? I can’t wait to hear responses on Giannis in Milwaukee.
The NBA has always been a star-driven league, but many of the biggest NBA superstars over the last 30+ years were stuck in the city that drafted them, and they either won a title, or they didn’t. Magic won in LA. Larry Bird won in Boston. Michael Jordan stayed in Chicago for seven years before winning his 1st title.
[Aside: I need to pause here and make sure you note the cities and teams that drafted those players. Take one more look.]
Fans never talk about Shaq, who bolted from Orlando and then won in LA. Kobe forced a trade from the Hornets to the Lakers on draft night. Doc Rivers won a title in Boston … after they added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in free agency. Let me guess, KG gets a pass from the Super Team narrative because he spent 12 years in Minnesota?
I’m pro-player. LeBron was stuck in a bad situation in Cleveland where he carried a bad team as far as he could. So he left. Durant wanted a change of scenery. I’m all for players taking control of their life and their narrative and deciding what’s best for them.
And since we’re talking about Super Teams, this seems relevant:
Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals: Highest-rated Game 3 since 2001
Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals: Highest-rated Game 4 since 2004
Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals: Highest-rated Game 5 since 1998.