I grew up watching Michael Jordan as a basketball player. Through his example I learned about leadership, tenacity, work ethic, and greatness. I am stained by his example, and the example of many others from that era. It clouds my judgement as I watch this generation of ballers go through their career.
When Lebron made the decision to go to Miami I couldn’t understand it. Why join arguably at the time the second best player in the league in Dwayne Wade, and arguably another top ten player in Chris Bosh to chase your championship? Lebron was the best player in the league and by going to Miami it seemed he was taking the easiest route to a championship. And he knew it too,that’s why at their big three pep rally introduction when discussing how many championships they might win his response was “not five, not six, not 7,” indicating that his new super team would win at least eight championships. This also speaks to Lebron’s naïveté at that time is his career.
Luckily the basketball Gods were listening and although they went to four straight finals, they only won two of them. Balance in the basketball force was maintained.
So now we have Kevin Durant. Playing his entire career in Oklahoma City, with one championship appearance under his belt, an amazing top five talent in Russell Westbrook, and what looks from the outside like a great team, deciding to leave that situation and join an already made super team in the Golden State Warriors. A team one year removed from a championship, and a team that just broke the single season wins record with 73 wins. A team also that Durant just lost to in heartbreaking fashion in the western conference finals. Durant’s OKC team was up three games to one and was dominating every facet of the series, before losing three straight games. Game six was the killer as OKC was up ten with six minutes to go and couldn’t close the deal. Looking back now I guess we should’ve seen that as the end of an era. Two top five talents in the league, with a great supporting cast around them, could not pull themselves together to close the Warriors out. Honestly, I put that loss on Durant because he’s the best player, with the most talent and his team’s leader. He should’ve sealed the deal.
I guess if you can’t beat them join them. I guess Durant and Lebron’s decisions echo what’s happening in private industry throughout America. Now that the world is flat, millennials will have multiple jobs during their careers as they try to make as much money as possible while being fulfilled in their work. I can’t knock Durant for making whatever decision is best for him, especially as I’m hearing he and Stephen Curry share a spiritual connection. For me nothing comes before that. But again, as someone raised on Michael Jordan. I can’t help but think Durant might be taking the easy route to a championship. Which for me speaks to weak basketball character. Hey, to each his own, and who knows, he may wind up back in OKC someday.
One last thing, Westbrook with all his dancing and minstrel-ling before games must have really been a pain in the ass to deal with on a consistent basis despite his talent. Durant probably had enough. I look forward to seeing Westbrook growing from this and reaching his potential both in terms of basketball and maturity.