When one of us, well, those of us who don’t make money as professional sports athletes, wants to go after happiness in life, it’s usually encouraged.
“Do what you want. Do what makes you happy.” The job that doesn’t feel like a job is the best kind of job, right? It’s a universal truth. We work to achieve something close to that ideal.
But yet, in the sports world, that universal truth is universally questioned.
As we creep closer to Game 1 of the NBA Finals tonight and continue to fail to distance ourselves from Kevin Durant and his departure from Oklahoma, KD’s “ring chasing” is still topical.
Many call what Durant has/is doing on his quest to win a first NBA championship a selfish vision quest – joining a team that could likely win it without him.
Valid points. All of them. Durant’s decision solidified Golden State as the team to beat and consequently set the Oklahoma City Thunder back. It also changed a lot of attitudes, particularly around here.
Durant was charged with “taking the easy way out,” among other things. He was never afforded the benefit of the doubt that maybe he was just doing what made him happy. But perhaps it’s not just the pursuit of the ring. Perhaps it’s the pursuit of happiness Durant was after and the ring is only part of it.
When you’re one of the elite in the NBA or the NFL what makes these guys happy, often times, is winning a title. That’s how the greats are judged in the NBA and the NFL. Dan Marino isn’t as good as Joe Montana because Marino never won. Neither did Charles Barkley or Karl Malone. Neither has Kevin Durant.
Durant was in a tough spot. If he stays in OKC and doesn’t win, he’d ultimately be labeled as one of those guys who had all the talent, but couldn’t get it done. And for reasons we’ll never know, Durant clearly thought he wasn’t going to win in Oklahoma City. If he leaves then he’s “chasing,” joining the enemy despite being so close to beating the enemy.
Ultimately, Durant wants to be known for winning titles. Ultimately he must have thought going to Golden State was the best way to achieve it.
Fans are fickle. That’s part of it. Understandable. If Kobe Bryant came out of retirement and said he’s always wanted to play in OKC and was coming here for the league minimum, the overwhelming majority of fans would applaud the decision as a “bigger than basketball” move. But the Durant move hurts, because it’s local and it seems selfish.
But we don’t know why he made the move. Maybe it’s as simple as he wanted to be happier.