The People Versus Kevin Durant

In the year 2019, the NBA has moved to a point where a résumé has become something different entirely. Once upon a time, your accomplishments were your accomplishments. If you were a multiple time all-star, you were a multiple time all-star. If you were an MVP, you were an MVP. If you were a champion, you were a champion. Nothing more be said, A player puts the work in, accomplishes his goals, and that was that. Everything changed when Kevin Durant made his move to join the Golden State Warriors. Now, everything Durant accomplishes is diminished by the fans and the media. The media, in fact, have upped the ante by doing and saying anything to ensure KD leaves the Warriors by the end of the season. It’s as if they’re trying to pressure him out of Golden State.

I get it. KD joined the team that beat him, the Warriors won 73 games, he upset the competitive balance in the NBA, and so on. But let’s not forget one simple fact that cannot be ignored. The Warriors needed KD just as much as KD needed the Warriors. There’s a reason that the original Warriors core invited him to join their team. Golden State needed an answer after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and KD needed to play in a winning system and environment. The arrangement has been mutually beneficial, and the payoff has been historic. Like it or not, KD made the move and now has two championship rings and two Finals MVPs. But the way people talk about him, you’d think that he was just another guy along for the ride. Let’s be honest: KD was driving that bus in crucial situations.

Despite it all, KD has been under fire now more than ever. From a fan’s perspective, it’s understandable if you’re not a Warriors fan. Golden State is in the way of our team’s success. That’s a typical fan mindset and completely understandable. But the way the media goes about criticizing KD is a bit beyond the scope. To hear them calling him every synonym for the word soft and openly demanding that his departure from Golden State is getting pathetic. It’s as if they can’t lobby legitimate criticism about his game, and then resort to petty insults as an alternative. And to be fair, KD needs to get some blame for this as well. His constant social media antics only embolden the media because it proves them right. What KD and the media need to do is ask a few questions. Why does KD require the respect of the fans and media to be considered great? Why does KD need to prove anything to anyone? And finally, why does KD have to do things your way to get respect? As stated at the beginning of this piece, the word résumé has transformed into something different. All of a sudden, you’re not legitimate if you don’t do it the right way. You’re not good enough if you don’t win on your own team. You're soft if you put yourself in the best situation to succeed. Isn’t it ironic? Just a few years ago, you needed rings to be considered great. Now you need to meet certain conditions to get those rings? It’s kind of silly.

In the constant war between the people and Kevin Durant, I feel sorry for both sides. One side is fueled by jealousy and self-interest. They cannot criticize the talent, so they try to tarnish the person. The other side not only feeds into the nonsense but ultimately engages in it. Whether it be out of insecurity or a lack of respect, he just can’t ignore it. Either way, the war will continue until one side gets what they want. Either the people see Durant switch teams and prove himself, or KD shuts them all up with tweets and jump shots. Who is right or wrong is simply a matter of perspective. About five years ago, I wrote an article questioning why LeBron James was so hated at the height of his Miami run. I concluded that piece by quoting a line from Nas: “people fear what they don’t understand, and hate what they can’t conquer”. Perhaps it’s the same with KD. No one outside of his circle can say they really know him, and the Warriors are unbeatable with him. Or maybe he’s just soft. I don’t know. Either way, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the game and shake my head at some of these debates.