The mightiest beast sits atop the Western throne, an already historical force who only grew in strength and title glory with the signing of Kevin Durant. Yes, I’m talking about the Golden State Warriors. But the quest for Western supremacy remains a battle, perhaps more so, as other teams attempt to claim the top spot that many assume belongs to one team.
Chris Paul flocked to James Harden and the Houston Rockets with playoff success on his mind. That pairing could become a devastating offensive factor. In spite of a quiet offseason, the San Antonio Spurs remain a massive threat to conquer the conference. They will be hungry following the hand they were dealt last season in the form of a Kawhi Leonard injury.
It doesn’t end there. Paul George joined the conference after Oklahoma City shocked the NBA with an admirably excellent move. Jimmy Butler all of a sudden has the Minnesota Timberwolves appearing to be a quality squad. With new stars entering the conference and every team circling the Warriors on its schedule, the West will provide fascinating drama all season.
Let’s break it down with takes from Tyler Birss and Mike Cortez of H&H.
Why is Kevin Durant still being hounded by haters even after dominating the NBA Finals and helping carry the Warriors to a championship?
There are countless layers to this question. Before diving into any of them, allow me to be fully transparent – I am a lifelong Golden State Warriors fan. Yes, casual NBA fan hater, there is an army of ACTUAL Warriors fans who formed in the dark days of irrelevance and whose loyalty is being rewarded by dynastic greatness. Suck it. I’m also an avid collector of Kevin Durant shoes and someone who fully supported his right to switch teams in free agency regardless of who he chose, a right that all free agents deserve. KD haters will already write off my answer given a perceived bias, but so be it. I would argue that hatred is the largest bias of all.
Now, about those layers. First of all, the NBA is popular. Quite popular. And only one fan base supports the Warriors. That means that 29 other fan bases were massively hurt by Durant’s decision since their favorite teams all saw possible title chances crumble. Hope is a precious thing in the life of fans, and KD extinguished hope across 29 cities on July 4th, 2016. That is the reality of a once-in-a-lifetime juggernaut being created. Other teams still had a chance of winning it all, however, that chance was beaten with a sledgehammer and then hit with a bomb made of exploding sledgehammers once KD chose the Warriors.
But that lens of hoping on a successful season, a title season, is the lens a fan looks through. The lens a hater looks through is a step further – a KD hater moves past the realm of being reasonably upset and into the dimension of being unjustifiably angry. Can you be mad that the Spurs or Cavaliers or Rockets all have a worse chance of winning a title? Sure. But does that mean you should call KD a snake and take a dump on his personal and earned right to play basketball for a different franchise? No. At that level of hating, you have taken off your fan hat and put on your troll mask. Again, suck it.
You see, for how important hope is for fans, something even KD haters will likely agree on, Durant’s right to control his destiny is equally important to a fan’s right of hope. KD haters shouldn’t let their squashed hope blind them to the fact that a sports world villain is truly not a villain at all. The man at the center of this article is an inspiration to youth, a positive community figure, and an overall professional on and off the court before even venturing into who he is as a basketball player. At its simplest form, Kevin Durant is a basketball player who changed basketball teams.
Imagine a scenario. Your friend has been working somewhere for nine years. He’s the best employee in his office, is beloved by the community, and enjoys being there. But one day, another job opportunity in the same field comes up. It’s in a different city, he’ll be working with different people, but he remains the same person. He wants a change and feels that accepting the new job will be an opportunity for personal fulfillment and success.
The logical reaction would be, while you may miss that friend, happiness for him. In this wild sports world of casting the villain role on upstanding citizens who happen to be pro athletes, the reactions are not logical. The same friend who you will miss and be happy for somehow becomes a snake and pariah since he plays in the NBA. It makes no sense, yet it prevails. On Twitter, logic dies and madness rules.
Kevin Durant did what’s best for him. In the age of social media leading to zero accountability for one’s words, the snake emojis fly and the hatred spreads. In my best attempt to answer this question, KD is still hounded by haters because internet hatred is contagious like a disease. People don’t like what KD did, and they can tell him so without being held accountable for hateful remarks. When other people do it as well, it becomes a chain of criticism. Mob mentality is real on the web. Look at any celebrity or athlete Twitter page and you’re bound to see vile remarks somewhere. People feel powerful behind their keyboards in an attempt to compensate for emptiness that exists in their souls.
But KD likes what he did, that’s the thing. He seems happy with his decision. And if he’s at peace while walking along his journey, perhaps KD haters should seek the same solace in their own lives. Rather than dedicating time to pouring negativity into KD’s social media accounts, they should focus on self-improvement and growth. No matter how miserable KD’s haters are, they still deserve the right to improve their lives. Step away from that keyboard, my friends, and do what KD did – put yourself first and make strides in the direction of happiness and fulfillment no matter what even your haters say. Control your ship even when naysayers disagree with your course.
Easy – he has everything every other player wants. He is the core of an unstoppable force that has no end to its path of destruction. Barring a devastating injury the Warriors become the league’s new dynasty. With all that success comes brush back, mostly in the form of jealousy. As a New York Yankees fan I know first hand how bitter other fan bases get of the kings. Durant is hard to hate so people mostly hate KD and the Golden State Warriors, not KD alone.
Regardless of how you felt about the move from a pure business standpoint it was a home run. Not only did he reach the Finals – something that should have more than once in OKC – but he won the Finals by being the best player on the floor. The same floor LeBron James was on by the way, so for anyone still mad about his move, get over yourself.
Next season I expect him to no longer be the heel of the league. The site of watching the Warriors is too good on the eyes to hate for much longer. Plus, other guys have thrown their hat into the ring for top villain. Kyrie Irving has pissed off some people this summer. LeBron can become the bad guy once again depending on how he handles his second Cleveland exit. If Russell Westbrook doesn’t sign an extension in OKC, he too could feel the wrath of the hypocrites.
To put a bow on this – KD’s success, as with any acclaimed player, will always be met with detractors. Hate is love in disguise and few player’s games are easy to love.