Windhoek-When the National Basketball Association (NBA) finals’ most valuable player (MVP) Kevin Durant first announced his move from Oklahoma City Thunder to the dominant Golden State Warriors during last year’s free agency he was heavily criticised for joining a team that had already established themselves as one of the best teams in the league.
The Warriors had won the NBA title in 2015 and were in the finals again in 2016 and this year they reclaimed the title from LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers with a historic post-game performance that saw them lose a single game out of 16.
Now the critics again want to taint Durant’s first championship ring by saying he chose the easy way out by joining an already great team. The criticism assumes that Durant had a free walk in the park and was merely tagging along in order to win his first NBA title.
Nothing can be further from the truth, because looking at the numbers it is clear that Durant was not carried to the podium to get his ring by the Warriors. Quite the opposite is true, in that Durant did most of the carrying in many games during the Warriors’ historic season.
But at each and every press conference during this year’s NBA post-season, reporters did their best to get Durant to comment on his individual performance, to which the 2017 MVP always responded: “This is a team game and no matter how good you are you can’t win without your team.”
For this consistent stance my hat goes off to one of the best players the world of basketball has ever seen. Durant’s poise on and off the court serves as a healthy reminder to all that, as much as we can control not just our individual actions and reactions but our circumstances, we should.
Where were the same critics when Lebron joined the Miami Heat to play alongside fellow superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh? Or when Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnet joined the Boston Celtics in 2008, where they too walked away with championship rings?
From all reports and experiences, Durant is a solid, diligent guy who figured out how to get what he wanted and left Oklahoma City to do so. But pointing out that his championship lacks some of the stubborn purity of Isiah Thomas’ or Michael Jordan’s door- and head-knocking over years isn’t affixing any asterisks.
Durant opted to join the only 73-victory team in NBA history and then scored 39 points in the finals’ clincher, which the Warriors won by nine points. That’s a fact: there’s nothing controversial about that conclusion.