From Hero to Villain: Kevin Durant's Cheap Move to the Warriors
The 2013-14 NBA MVP just left one of the top four teams in the league to play on one of the top two teams in the league. And you should be mad at him. Really, really mad. At least that's what many NBA fans would say. Stephen A. Smith would agree. Kevin Durant is no longer a buzzing hero carrying a small market franchise. No, KD is a villain.
Our parents; no...grandparents set the standard: you grow where you're planted and you make the most of the hand you're dealt. This thinking has aided many a man as he has struggled through miserable jobs to pay impossible bills. This is manhood. You suck it up and push through. Even if something comes along that offers to lift your burden, don't be a pansy. Do it on your own.
In reality, few of us still have this mentality. The borderline narcissistic pride of handling everything on your own is outdated. Decades ago, life was harder. Economic troubles crippled many, and the stories of men working backbreaking jobs for little pay for 50 years of their life were born to teach us really how good we have it today.
But here in 2016, life is different. We don't expect to stay in the same job for more than 5-7 years on average. If we are all honest, none of us would turn up our nose at an offer of a job where we were guaranteed success and good pay, not to mention coworkers who are excellent at their jobs.
I didn't become a Lebron James fan until 2010. The moment he left for Miami I hopped on the Lebron bandwagon. It wasn't because I was a Heat fan, and it wasn't because I hated Cleveland.
I became a Lebron fan because he got ripped for doing something that the majority of us would do. Think about yourself in the job you're in. If a company came to you offering you a) good money, b) no income tax, c) an opportunity to work with your friends, d) a better chance for professional success and e) a better place to live and raise a family, do you say no?
Seriously, does anyone turn that down?
Lebron didn't. And because of that, he was lambasted by fans and by the media. Part of this was because the way he made his decision, blocking off an hour of airtime on ESPN to declare just where he was taking his talents to. That move looked bad on Lebron (even though it raised millions for the Boys and Girls Club, a tidbit most Lebron haters leave out).
But the Lebron decision was ridiculed immediately. How dare he leave to go the easy route? How dare he abandon his home to go play in Miami, a place that's already experienced its share of success? Biggest of all was this unfair comparison: how will Lebron live up to Jordan now? MJ never left.
In a tweet not long after Kevin Durant made his decision to leave, ESPN's Jemele Hill summed up the hypocrisy of fans and media in one sentence:
If Lebron never leaves Cleveland, he doesn't have a ring today. It's pretty obvious: in life when you're talented you create leverage and can choose to do what makes you happy. We should all be so fortunate.
Durant to the Warriors might be bad for the NBA. It's created a monster in the West and made Golden State the clear favorites to win the NBA title. How the lovable Steph Curry and KD will fit into the roles of despised front runners is yet to be seen. One thing is clear: people hate people that are tremendously successful. Even the man who gave his MVP to his mom doesn't escape that.
I wanted to see KD in Oklahoma City for one more year. I would've liked to see him in Boston to create a capable rival to the Cavs. Heck, I wanted him in Charlotte to give my Hornets their first marquee superstar since Zo and Grandmama.
But KD wants a ring. KD wants success. He's tasted personal success, now he wants a shot to win the ultimate prize for team success.
Kevin Durant wants the same things the rest of us do: success, respect, and most of all, satisfaction and happiness.
Let's not let the fact that he makes millions of dollars change our perception of who he is: a man hungry for the same things we're all hungry for.