As Australians, we sure know how to hold a grudge. Whether it’s our favourite Rugby League player walking out on his club to join a rival or remembering the time our team lost a game on a big call, we hold onto it for a long time.
Which brings me to a lingering issue in the NBA.
Is it finally time we move on and forgive Kevin Durant for walking out on the Oklahoma City Thunder?
LeBron summed it up perfectly when commenting on the Blake Griffin bombshell trade:
“When a player gets traded, it was doing what’s best for the franchise. But when a player decides to leave, it’s He’s not loyal and He’s a snake”.
The NBA is a business. Blake Griffin was promised to be a Clipper for life in the off season when he put pen to a 5-year deal. He was just recently traded to Detroit. “Business decision”.
LeBron James walked out on the Cavs years ago and took his talents to Miami to try win a championship with his friends D Wade and Chris Bosh. He was crucified in the media for it especially during the first year when failing to claim the crown. However, in their 2nd season together, LeBron won his first NBA Championship. He was praised after that. All was forgotten.
LeBron’s Miami jersey was one of the highest sellers. People didn’t seem to mind when purchasing his jersey. It was a cool accessory and something to be seen wearing in South Beach Miami.
Enter Kevin Durant. KD has a top 3 selling jersey in America. People have clearly forgiven and forgotten in the states after KD’s NBA Finals Performance, which led to his first ring (likely 2nd to come this season). NBA fans are now beginning to appreciate how great he really is.
2 years ago it was near impossible to purchase a Steph Curry jersey, sales were 10 to 1 compared to most other jerseys. Incredible!
Kevin Durant’s jersey whilst playing in Oklahoma City was the 2nd most valuable jersey to have, as at this stage KD was a fan favourite.
As fans, we loved how Durant and Westbrook were like brothers, and left heartbroken and angry when they split up. “The snake” moving on from OKC to join a super team in San Francisco. Fans would much rather support someone like Westbrook, the underdog in this story. It’s another thing Aussie’s love, an underdog. Jersey sales in Australia can back that up.
Now – people want to love the Warriors so much, the brand of basketball they play makes it look so effortless, the free flowing style, and just really looks like they are having the time of their lives every time they step out onto the court. But peer pressure in Australia makes it hard to announce they actually love the Warriors.
Teenage kids feel scared they’ll be bullied by other kids (who say for example are LeBron fans), calling them “band wagoners” simply just for wearing Warriors gear. It’s just the way we are in this country.
Americans haven’t forgot about KD’s move out to San Francisco (they love a classic beat up and the theatre of it all when he comes up against Russ and the boys), creating the Hero vs Villain, but it’s so much more than that in Australia.
Every day on all Social Media platforms, we continue to throw shade at Durant because he’s a “traitor”, yet 99% of those “keyboard warriors” will be the first to line up for a photo if the chance ever arose.
But you can just see it, after asking so polite, like they’re the biggest fan on the planet, walk away and upload the photo with a caption “Met the Snake today!”
But just as we forgave LeBron and appreciated his greatness, it’s about time we start to the do the same for Kevin Durant. Greatness doesn’t come along often, and we need to stop holding that grudge.
When it’s all said and done, we are witnessing two of the greatest players of all time right now. Kevin Durant and LeBron James when it’s all said and done, are going to finish top 5-10 players in this league, in the same era!!
If we are still calling him a snake after players who were branded “life time players” are ruthlessly moved on, then I think as Australian’s we need to take a good hard look at ourselves.
It’s a business!