Seven years ago, a 21-year-old aspiring teacher fresh out of college laid in his bed and typed out a tweet to Kevin Durant. I intended the tweet to be tongue in cheek with no real hope of there ever being a response. But the question that was being posed was legitimate. The exchange was as follows:
It took a while to grasp the fact that KD responded to me. Why would he care what a guy from a rural area in Southeastern Kentucky thinks? He’s an NBA MVP and a legitimate top 10 player of all time. But this exchange told me a lot about who KD the person is, and if you will take this deep dive with me, you will understand that the only outcome for Kevin Durant in the 2019 offseason is to join the New York Knicks.
Kevin Durant came into the league as a quiet and humble 7’0 Small Forward that could score from anywhere on the court. He loved his momma, cared about his teammates, and adored his city. He never got aggravated on the court and truly seemed to be one of the nicest guys in the NBA. He even made a children’s movie (that nobody watched) so he could connect with the younger audience. KD was all that you could want in a role model and a superstar.
Kevin Durant had his first taste of success in the NBA Finals in the 2012 season when his young Oklahoma City team lost 4-1 to the Super Lebron led Miami Heat team. Two years later, Kevin Durant won his first NBA MVP.
He was finally reaching the pinnacle of what we believed that he could be, but along the way, he was changing. He was racking up technicals at a larger rate (led the league with 20 in his MVP season), didn’t seem to care as much about being a role model, and was lashing out to fans on Twitter (I still get angry KD fans that tweet me to this day).
He was growing up; he was growing into his own man and was challenging Lebron’s throne as the best player in the league. He wanted us to believe that during this time he didn’t care what we thought. He just wanted to hoop and be his own guy. He pulled the ultimate villain card and even joined the 73-9 Monstars that had just lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Kevin Durant would stick it to us all and let us know that he would rack up championships and we would sit here and like it, no matter what we felt about him. But under all the facade, there was a truth, Kevin did everything for us because deep down he wanted the world to love him.
In KD’s two seasons in Golden State, he has won 2 Finals MVPs and 2 NBA Titles. He has positioned himself finally to take away the throne from LeBron (unless Kawhi steals it first) and become the best player in the league. He has had his fights with Draymond (who wouldn’t), his disagreements with reporters, and even sometimes still goes after fans or reporters who say bad things about him. But Kevin had finally reached basketball Nirvana.
The Warriors are a true juggernaut that plays positionless basketball and can shoot from all five positions. Their ability to get up and down the court and knock down three-pointers has transcended the game of basketball.
Kevin was hoping to receive our praise and adoration but he didn’t. The whole time he has been in Golden State he has been criticized. It’s obvious that he is not the leader of the team or the fan favorite. Although he is the most skilled player in the league, he cannot overtake the Bay Area throne from Steph Curry.
And then the whispers began to come out. Multiple sources (I will always use this dumb phrase as much as possible) began to say that KD was unhappy. He couldn’t believe that people didn’t respect him like Lebron, I mean he had already beaten him twice. He couldn’t believe that he didn’t get the same crowd pop that Curry got when he drained a backbreaking three to another western conference foe. He couldn’t even believe that critics and fans would ever question his ability.
So KD would finally leave the Bay and show the world how important he was, that was until the most important moment of the season happened in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Golden State Warriors were in the midst of a battle with the Houston Rockets when KD came down gingerly after a jump shot. The immediate indication was that he could have possibly torn his Achilles, but the Warriors instead told us it was a calf strain. The world cheered as the Warriors Dynasty would come to an end, but then the Warriors became the 73-9 team again and beat the Houston Rockets.
But in Kevin’s mind, this could moment could have possibly been positive. With him out, the Warriors would see how much they needed him. The world would see how valuable of a player he was, and finally Kevin Durant would get the credit he so rightfully deserves until the exact opposite happened.
The Warriors played the Blazers and swept them 4-0 in the Western Conference Finals. The team played freely, seemed to have more fun, and looked like the lovable Warriors from the 2015 season. Steph Curry was once again a Superstar and Draymond Green improved his game dramatically. And once again the whispers began. “Are the Warriors better without KD?” “Is KD overrated?” “The Warriors seem to have more fun without him” The talking heads around the world decided that once again Kevin Durant would feel the brunt of their wrath.
The injury seemed worse than originally thought and KD is still on the sidelines as the NBA finals begin. What was supposed to be a moment for the world to see how important he was has turned into a moment where the world believes that another team is better without him. And now KD sits again, wishing to be liked and appreciated, responding to Chris Broussard on Twitter.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Doctor Strange looks at Iron Man and tells him he has viewed 14,000,605 possibilities for the upcoming battle with Thanos. Iron Man asks him how many do they win. Doctor Strange replies, “one”. Kevin Durant now sits with these possibilities ahead of him in mind. If he doesn’t play again this year and the Warriors win, he looks more like an unnecessary piece to this Warriors run. If he plays again and the Warriors lose (doubtfully), people will blame him for coming back and ruining their chemistry. If he plays and wins, he ties LeBron with three rings and can now be free of that shadow, but the world will continue to discredit his championships because of the way he won them. And then, what will he do this summer?
Kevin Durant has created this chaotic world where so many things could happen. Every team in the league would love to have him, and he will be one of the most sought after free agents in decades. But now, at this moment, he is at a point where there are so many ways to lose and only one way to win. Because deep down, KD doesn’t care so much about the rings, he cares about our appreciation and love for him as a superstar.
When he responds on Twitter, he’s letting people know how much he hates their criticism and wants their appreciation. (Burner account, anyone?) So how does he shed this weight and get us back on his side? He sits out of the Finals (don’t injure yourself more, KD. And besides nobody will give you the credit) and joins the New York Knicks this Summer. That is his possibility. That is where he wins. That’s how he gets us back on his side. Take one of the league’s most storied franchises and bring them back to prominence.
Win a title there and it will mean more than all of the stuff in Golden State. You will be loveable again, we will appreciate you for who you are. You will finally be Da Real MVP in our eyes and find what you’ve been always seeking in your career. And who knows, I may even tweet you again, but this time with some nice words.