Kevin Durant is certain to be considered among the greatest players of the current generation and he has cemented that legacy by helping the Golden State Warriors to back-to-back NBA championships since his arrival in 2016. He has also gone on to pick up the NBA Finals MVP on both the occasions.
However, despite his success with the team, the Warriors small forward continues to get criticized for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder with whom he had spent his entire NBA career prior to moving to a team that had just beaten it in the Western Conference Finals. It came as a shock to everyone when he announced his departure via The Players’ Tribune on July 5, 2016.
Durant’s arrival in the Bay Area has made the Warriors virtually invincible, especially in the seven-game series playoffs. He has not merely been part of Stephen Curry’s bandwagon but contributed heavily to its successes over the last two seasons.
The 30-year-old admitted during a recent interview with The Athletic that he was certain he was going to be criticized for leaving Oklahoma to join the Warriors, but he revealed that he “wanted it so bad.” Durant also responded without any doubt that his gamble had totally paid off and his experience with the Warriors had been everything he expected.
The two-time NBA Finals MVP also compared his situation to LeBron James, who decided to leave his hometown franchise Cleveland Cavaliers and form a super team alongside Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh at Miami Heat. He was roundly criticized but went on to make four finals and win two NBA championships along the way.
“I came here knowing for a fact, that every media member, every fan was going to call me every name in the book for however long I was here and I was going to take the brunt of everything. I knew coming here. But I wanted to be a part of this so bad, I didn’t give a [expletive]. Same with LeBron [James]. He took all of that heat, no matter what,” Durant said.
Durant seemed adamant about having made the right decision and he has proven himself in a team that currently lines up with five All-Stars. However, the worrying factor for the Warriors will be that his statements seem like he is referring to them almost in the past tense, and with the forward entering free agency in the summer, it could be that he looks for newer pastures again.
Many reports have suggested that the New York Knicks will sign Durant once he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, and that Kyrie Irving will join him at Madison Square Garden when he leaves the Boston Celtics also as a free agent in the summer.