For several years now, Steph Curry has been considered the most popular and revered athlete in the Bay Area. When it's all said and done, he might be at the very top of the region's all-time list.
And apparently, the love that fans feel for Curry partially is reponsible for Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors to sign with the Nets.
Marc Spears of The Undefeated had the details Sunday, after Durant made his decision:
A source close to Durant also told The Undefeated there were several things that took place over the past year that caused the star to leave. While Durant’s shocking move to join the Warriors in 2016 quickly paid dividends for him — two straight championships and two Finals MVP awards — there was always the sense that the 10-time All-Star felt like a distant second fiddle to Stephen Curry.
Perhaps it would have helped the Warriors’ cause if their fans showed more love and appreciation for Durant’s elite achievements.
Curry regularly received MVP chants from the Warriors crowd when he shot free throws, while that didn’t become commonplace for Durant until this past postseason.
Hmmmmmmm. This sounds familiar.
The morning after the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, Jay Williams -- who works with KD and his business partner, Rich Kleiman, at Thirty Five Ventures -- said the following on ESPN's morning show "Get Up:"
"I saw something last night -- and I'm not speaking for him -- but for me, it kind of bothered me. Stephen Curry was on the free throw line (late in the third quarter) and granted Steph is an incredible player, he's MVP-caliber, two-time MVP. Take a listen to what the fans were cheering..."
(The show then cut to a clip of the Oracle Arena crowd chanting "M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!" And that bothered Williams?)
"It's like, 'OK, could this ever really be my team?' I feel like if you're a basketball player, you know that's Kevin Durant's team. But from the outside looking in, fans still see it as Stephen's team. And I don't care what anybody says, that has to sit with you in some kind of form or capacity.
"He's back-to-back Finals MVP."
The fact that this example was mentioned again certainly makes it seem like it in fact is KD -- not Williams -- who was bothered by the "M-V-P" chants, and Williams is relaying what he's been told.
Furthermore, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic wrote the following Sunday night:
In truth, KD was never embraced or loved by local fans on the level of the incumbent Curry.
This is undeniable, and it impacted Durant's outlook on his future.
It hasn't even been 24 hours since we learned the two-time NBA Finals MVP is leaving the Dubs, and important context is coming to light. It's safe to assume more is on the way in the coming days, weeks and months.