I can't believe I fell for it, can't believe I fell for the giant fraud perpetrated by the NBA media: That Kevin Durant only cared about the basketball. That he wasn't your typical NBA superstar. That his priorities were more grounded.
Please. From the house in the Hamptons used for his free-agent interviews, to the motives of his crossover agents at Roc Nation, to his ultimate decision to join the Warriors, Durant proved just another pampered superstar taking the easiest, most lucrative path put in front of him.
That doesn't make make him a bad guy; but it also doesn't make him any different. Those who thought he might be were sorely mistaken.
Read Royce Young's fine piece on ESPN and you'll find Durant's decision came down to the usual:
On the floor he wasn't getting the shots he wanted and felt he couldn't win it all with the players he was surrounded by.
Off the floor, he and his agents were concerned with his brand and the sales of his merchandise.
According to the story:
"His last two signature shoes -- the KD7 and KD8 -- didn't sell well. His jersey sales slipped. Durant has never sweat market size, but those around him were beginning to. The phrase that kept getting used: 'Shake it up.' "
Best way to get those sales up? Go get a ring. Easiest way to get it? Join Steph Curry and the Warriors. Sit in a mansion in the Hamptons with your agent Jay Z and let the suitors come in on their private jets to make it look like a process, but who are we kidding? Durant was headed to Golden State the whole way.
And here I had begun to believe he might want to forge his own legacy. Or perhaps just finish what he started. For some reason I thought this one wouldn't have anything to do with Nike or Under Armor or market share. Or market size, for that matter.
Stupid me. The Celts apparently knew better. Danny Ainge made sure to wear the KD8's (or were they the KD7's?) and the C's glitzed it up with Tom Brady as part of the entourage. But they were obviously no match for the easy ring waiting in California. No match for the bigger market, better team and easier path.
Because in the end, that's what Durant was about.
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