On July 4th 2016, Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. At the same time, he signed himself up to be the biggest villain the NBA had seen since Lebron took his talents to South Beach, which pales in comparison to what KD did. Fans weren’t necessarily upset that he left OKC, despite making it to the Finals once with him, the team failed to upgrade the roster and made critical mistakes in the eight years (Harden trade SMH) that Durant was on the roster. Rather, the fans, and myself included, were enraged that he chose to sign with a team that had just set the record for most wins in a season and came one win (one epic Lebron block/Kyrie three) from repeating as champions. There may not be any easy paths to a title in the NBA, but he may have taken the easiest possible in the history of the league. From there on out, he was the villain. Burner accounts, snake emojis, and veteran players calling him out would flood his social media for his entirety of time with the Warriors, and many would say it was justified.
The First Injury
I didn’t feel any remorse when KD first injured his calf. I thought it may have been a ruptured Achilles the first time and I didn’t feel bad. I wasn’t happy about it, I would never wish injury upon any player in this league, but if it happened to someone that my immature mind felt cheated the league I loved, so be it. The Warriors have had some historic luck with injuries on both sides of the court during their dominance, and for it all to come crashing down with several players felt almost poetic.
The Second Injury
I didn’t sleep the night after KD actually ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA finals. I was sickened. Sickened with the Warriors forcing him out there, Raptors fans for waving him off the court, but mostly with myself. It shouldn’t have happened this way, he was supposed to leave in free agency, sign with a mediocre team, turn it around, and regain his good name. I was here for it. But now, seeing as a ruptured Achilles is a death sentence to professional athletes (especially ones older than 30), his legacy will be both incomplete and tainted. Not tainted because of the fiasco he turned the NBA into when he signed with the Warriors; tainted because he never got to regain that ‘nice guy Kev’ reputation he had in OKC.
I’d like to formally apologize to Kevin Durant. I’m sure he doesn’t give a shit about what I think about him nor will this article ever grace his eyes but I need to get this off my chest. Maybe he did go to the Warriors because he just wanted a win. Maybe he is insecure and he does care about what the public thinks and that’s why he made those burner accounts. But that does not mean he is not a good man, with good intentions, who loves the game of basketball. I refused to acknowledge that all these years as a ‘KD’ hater. This man, on one leg, put his team and his love for the game in front of his health. And he paid the ultimate price for it. Maybe the fear of more criticism on him weighed his conscience, but not nearly as much as he felt he had a duty to finish this run.
Kevin Durant may never get the chance to turn his reputation around for all NBA fans. There may be those that still tweet snake emojis or do cop out tweets like ‘I’m not happy he got injured but he’s still a phony’. That was taken from him. But I can say for me, whatever that means, I have turned completely around on Durant. I apologize for all these years hating you, I hope you recover fully.