I’ll never forget it. It was July 4th 2016 I was working a dead end job and as i was getting ready to go to work I was laying in bed checking Twitter, I refreshed my timeline one last time before having to get into my 2004 Volvo S80 for work.
At the very top of my feed was The Players Tribunes most recent tweet. The caption read “My Next Chapter”, next to the name of the article was a picture of Kevin Durant. I quickly clicked to see where the second biggest free agent of all time was gonna go. I was thinking OMG he really is leaving the Thunder,and please dont join the Celtics (I’m a Sixers fan). Then I saw it, I was shocked, angry, and confused he joined Steph and Klay in Golden State.
I thought like every one else what a coward he was, he literally said if you cant beat em, join em. Russ and him were one win away from stopping the Warriors and now he is joining them? What the Fuck!I despised Kevin Durant I couldn’t believe he would do that.
To no ones surprise it became fruitful relationship between KD and the Warriors.He won two championships and two finals MVP’s over the first two years of his run in Golden State. Yet the narrative never changed and it always felt like us the fans and Durant now had this strained bitter relationship with one another. He had drama at every turn.
He had the Burner account. A fan was asking a legit question wondering why he left the Thunder. Durant blamed it on lack of talent around him and the incompetence of head coach Billy Donovan, only problem is that he answered this under his actual Kevin Durant Twitter account later to find out KD had at least one burner account and he never switched over accounts.
You had the incident with Portland guard CJ McCollum. McCollum was on the Barstool Sports podcast “Pardon My Take”. He was asked to compare the KD signing to a life event, He said it was like being in a fight with your brothers losing the fight, then the next time you fight those same guys that beat you the last time one of your brother switches up sides and starts jumping you. This lead to Durant and McCollum having a late night Twitter feud.
Early in the 18-19 season after an overtime loss to the LA Clippers, he got into an argument with Draymond Green who called KD a “bitch” and told him they dont need Durant. He said they won a ring without him and he needed them more then they needed him. Green reportedly also said that he couldn’t wait for him to move on in the summer of 19. The warriors suspended Green for one game after the altercation.
Now we get to the present, the Warriors were the top team in the West and were expected to win their third title in a row. They had a tough first round match up against the Clippers the same Clippers that helped cause the schism between Green and Durant earlier in the season. THey did dispose of them in a hard fought 6 game series. In the second round they faced whom many believed would be their toughest test until the Finals, going up against the Houston Rockets who pushed them to 7 a year ago in the West Conference finals.The warriors would handle them in a much easier 6 game series this time around. In the fifth game against Houston though Kevin Durant would suffer a right calf strain that would cause him to miss nine straight games including a sweep in the West Finals over Portland and then facing a 3-1 deficit against the East representing Toronto Raptors in the NBA’s championship round.
Durant couldn’t even stay injured quietly. Rumors swirled about his pending free agency decision. There was a report that claimed teammates were questioning his heart . Perhaps the most vile rumor swirling was that he was happy the Warriors were struggling to prove that they needed him maybe more then he needed them. I wanted to say these things surprised but alas they didn’t. This to me sounded like the burner account having Durant we have all heard about in recent memory instead of the quiet humble kid form DC who was modest in his first 9 seasons. I embarrassingly enough believed the rumors, to me it checked out, this seemed like something that villain Kevin Durant would have thought and said just so it would be leaked on purpose and end up in the headlines. Then last night happened.
His team down 3-1 against the Raptors and on the verge of their dynasty and dreams of a Three-Peat dying. Durant played in a game 5 despite ESPN’s own Jalen Rose saying he didn’t look like he was close to ready. He started out of a cannon sinking 3’s and showing off the range that made him at least in my opinion the best basketball player on the planet. Then 2 minutes into the second quarter preforming a crossover against former Thunder teammate Serge Ibaka Durant drooped the ball and hit the deck immediately grabbing the same general area he had injured against the Rockets.
Needing to be helped off the court by his teammates including having Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala walk him back to the Locker Room. I immediately hopped on Twitter and then I saw the disturbing slow mo and close up of Durant on the play. As he stepped back you could see something like a rubber band snap in the bottom of his right calf. It hasn’t been announced yet but it almost certainly has to be what we are all thinking: A torn Achilles.
I know this is sappy and an annoying thing to do but I’m Sorry to Kevin Durant. I’m sorry i ever questioned his toughness or that if he truly loves playing the game of Basketball. He showed everyone hes a true Competitor and competing is what matters most to him. He quite possibly cost himself a lot of money last night getting injured. He did it all though for the pursuit of greatness and a Championship. I’m sorry I thought differently of him because of things he’s done in the past. I’m sorry i was foolish enough to believe some of the rumor and innuendo I fell victim too.
At the end of the day Kevin Durant is still what he was when he entered the league in 07, and thats a Hooper, perhaps the biggest compliment I can give a basketball player. At some point for some of the players it becomes about more then just basketball. Players focus can change to outside opportunity’s and their own person Brands. If there was ever a doubt (I had many) Kevin Durant proved to all of us last night that Basketball and the pursuit of excellence will always be his number one goal.