Snake, coward, cupcake, soft…just a few of the more appropriate names that Kevin Durant has been called since the summer of 2016. In an unprecedented move, Durant left for a team that beat his Thunder in the playoffs and subsequently won two championships with two Finals MVP awards. This led to an outrage and mass hysteria, jerseys burning, countless articles and boos in the ‘Peake that were loud enough to be heard in neighboring states. Even today some people still can’t let it go. However, despite all of this, his jersey should still be retired by the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise. If you say it shouldn’t and your only reason is because he left for the Warriors….you can see yourself out. Here’s the facts.
Kevin Durant doesn’t owe OKC anything but he gave the city everything.
As a player, Kevin Durant gave Oklahoma City nine years of his career. As a man off the court, there was charity, a restaurant and more. Charitable work that continued AFTER he left and heard more than what was needed to be heard in terms of disrespect. Not only that, he helped make it “cool” to play for one of the small market franchises in the NBA as well as put the city on the map so to speak.
An old teammate even thinks it should happen.
Nick Collison, the man affectionately known as “Mr. Thunder” was the first to have his jersey retired by the franchise and was quoted saying that although it’s the organization’s decision, “I certainly think it should happen.” Now whether or not you agree is up to you. But if somebody who spent ten years working and playing alongside KD and now works in the front office can let it go…..you as a fan should too.
Without Kevin Durant, the Thunder is nothing more than a scattered rain shower.
The shoes he left to fill are so big, not even Russell Westbrook could fill them. With all due respect to The Brodie, Kevin Durant’s production and efficiency has never been replicated. That’s right, not even with Russ’ herculean three straight triple-double seasons. Even with Sam Presti working his magic to surround Westbrook with Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Victor Oladipo and others during the years since Durant left, OKC has never made it past the first round of the playoffs. And if we’re being honest, if he came back next season, you’d scream and shout like you got another stimulus check.
The most important banner in the ‘Peake is hanging because of him.
In the 2011-2012 season, with an overall record of 47-19, Kevin Durant led the Thunder to the NBA Finals at age 23. This was a season that saw Durant post close to a 50/40/90 clip at nearly 40 minutes a night. With the club’s only trip to the NBA Finals coming from a performance by KD that was incredible in the Western Conference finals. During that series, he averaged 29 ppg, 7 rpg & 5 apg over six games and putting up 34 points and 14 boards in the series deciding game 6. Also averaged an impressive 30 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 apg, 1.4 spg and 1 bpg in the Finals against the Heat. Although losing in 5, the world knew that KD was for real.
0 couldn’t get it done without 35.
Here’s a pill that a lot of Thunder fans refuse to swallow: Russell Westbrook needed Kevin Durant more than Kevin Durant needed him. Since KD left, Oklahoma City hasn’t amassed more than 50 wins and has yet to make it out the first round. And Russ has yet to mesh with anyone the way he did with KD. PG, Melo and Oladipo helped win games sure, but the potential with all of these guys was never the same as it was with Kevin Durant, nor was the chemistry matched.
Say what you will, but in Golden State and now Brooklyn, these are teams that play to his strengths more than his weaknesses (there aren’t many) which could and more than likely should translate to more success.
About 80% of Thunder fans will hate me for this article. Might get some nasty DM’s, Tweets or something of the sort. Do I care? Absolutely not. His rings aren’t tainted and neither is his near decade in OKC. Which is something every fan will remember for life. Even if it doesn’t get retired, there’s a reason nobody’s wearing that jersey number right now.
Call him a snake if you want to…it doesn’t change the power in his venom.