One of the topics that has the sports world buzzing these days is the somewhat surprising announcement by NBA superstar Kevin Durant that he is leaving Oklahoma City and signing on with the Golden State Warriors. I was personally stunned when heard his decision on the 4th of July, but in the grand scheme of things, should anyone be surprised by what goes in that league these days?
The team that he left, Oklahoma City, took Golden State to 7 games and was probably playing as well as anyone at the end of the season. They had a good young coach, great fans and one of the best duos in the NBA, Durant and Russell Westbrook. Had Durant stayed, they could have easily been contenders for next year’s championship. I don’t know about anyone else, but that exciting 7 game series would have created even more of a desire in my heart to stay and beat Golden State. Instead, Durant decides to go join the enemy? It makes no sense!
If you listen to many of the sports experts, Golden State should already be crowned champions for next year’s NBA season. Why even have a season next year? Just award the trophy to the Warriors. I mean, who is going to beat them? They set the NBA regular season record without him. Heck, they might even go undefeated next season!
Well not so fast, Warrior fans. Obviously their lineup looks very imposing to say the least, but it is not perfect. Are there enough basketballs to go around with 4 high-profile scorers in the starting lineup? Sometimes, team chemistry often gets overlooked in assembling a team. I think a much overlooked change on their team is the loss of Andrew Bogut. He was not the greatest scorer in the world, but he provided a lot of good interior defense for the club. I think his injury in the finals really hurt the Warriors more than people realize. Do they have someone who can step in and replace him? A big physical team could give them fits this coming season.
It should be really fun to watch the Warriors play this season now that Durant is playing for them. Is it good for the NBA for teams to stack their roster full of superstar players? That is very debatable. I personally think no. As a fan, there is just something exciting about watching a team stacked with great players. I just think that there is absolutely no guarantee that Golden State will win the title next year.
Some people have ripped Durant for his decision, however, I am certainly not one of the them. He is free to play for any team he desires. I am free to work for any company I want so why can’t he play for any team he wants? This is a free country for crying out loud! If teams have a problem with Golden State being too stacked with good players, then do something about it! Perhaps this decision might inspire other teams to be wiser in their selection of players so they can also be winners that players want to play for. I wish KD the best of luck. He is one of the good guys in the league and certainly deserves to win a championship.
In the closing seconds of last night’s epic game 7 NBA championship showdown between Cleveland and Golden State, my mind flashed back to a moment I vividly recall 6 years ago. It was a July night in 2010 when LeBron James had that much hyped interview announcing that he intended to take his talents to South Beach and play for the Miami Heat. James was a free agent at the time and there was some speculation that he would remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers and sign a new contract. At least that is what the fans of Cleveland dearly wanted. When James decided to sign elsewhere with the Heat, fans of the Cavaliers were livid. There were several incidents of fans burning James jersey. He was public enemy number one. The owner of the Cavaliers was equally angry. He took out a full-page age ripping James to shreds; even taking some personal shots at LBJ. If someone had told you back then that James would come back to Cleveland and lead that team to an NBA championship, you might have been tempted to call the police and have the person arrested for being criminally insane! A certain blogger from Minnesota made that bold prediction shortly after James started playing in Miami and was met with the most ridicule and abuse that any sports fan should ever endure. Yes, I hate to beat my own horn, but I did predict that LeBron would come back someday to Cleveland and lead his team to the title. And yes, I will enjoy rubbing it in to some of my buddies!
In all seriousness though, has there ever been a more unlikely scenario happen to any professional athlete? The fact that LeBron came back to Cleveland in the first place is stunning in itself. LeBron must have more forgiveness in heart than Jesus Christ for coming back to a team in which the owner publicly took him to task for leaving Cleveland. And to go on and help the team win a professional sports title for the first time in nearly 52 years is something Hollywood could not even dream up. It is like having your high school sweetheart run off with a richer guy, then she comes back to you and you end up marrying her. I have never see anything like this in all my years of watching sports.
Sometimes we really have to look at professional sports for what it is worth. This is a prime example of my theory about professional athletes. It is all about winning pure and simple. James saw an opportunity to win another title in Cleveland and jumped at the opportunity. Why would any athlete come back to a team after the team’s owner publicly humiliated him in the paper? I think the same owner should publicly thank James for coming back to Cleveland and helping him become a richer owner. And you have to wonder what ever happened to those idiots who set James jersey on fire back in 2010. What are those guys thinking now? I suppose they will be the front row during the victory parade wearing their new LBJ jerseys.
You have to wonder what the next chapter will be in this very strange relationship with the James and the Cavaliers. I find it very unlikely that they will win back to back championships. Perhaps James will find greener pastures once again. Or perhaps he will finally settle down in Cleveland and end his career there. Stayed tuned to the next chapter. I just find it very intriguing that the same city who wanted James banned forever now wants to proclaim him mayor. Oh how sports can be so fickle at times! It is amazing how winning that shinny trophy can erase all ill will. Of all the greatest accomplishments and feats that LBJ has ever performed, this one ranks at the top. This man is indeed a miracle worker! He converted an entire city to his side. Who would have thought it was possible just 6 years ago?