In most sports, the best playing alongside the best is cause for celebration. In the NBA, it’s cause for consternation.
Barcelona is Barcelona because it trots out Neymar, Suarez and Messi. The Capitals were the NHL’s best team because it added T.J. Oshie to ridiculously loaded lineup and DC went nuts. The 2007 Patriots went 16-0 because it paired Randy Moss with Tom Brady. Every year, MLB teams work to sign as many stars as possible to put together a loaded lineup.
clutching their pearls and begging for a return to the good ol’ days when players would never dare play with their top rivals.
The new narrative is that today’s top NBA players don’t want to beat their rivals; they want to join them. It started when LeBron left a crappy situation in Cleveland – seriously, look at the last roster he had to play with – for a fresh start in Miami with Wade and Bosh.
I always thought the goal of playing sports was to win. LeBron’s best chance to win a title was in Miami, not Cleveland. As Kevin Durant looks over his options for next season and beyond, it is clear as blue sky that Golden State is his best opportunity to win a title.
Speaking as a fan, the most exciting destination for Durant is Golden State. Sure, it’d be fun to see him try to revive the Knicks or the Lakers. It’d be equally interesting to see him in Boston, playing for Brad Stevens.
But Durant on the Warriors would be transcendent. The same way soccer fans lose their mind during a Neymar, Messi, Suarez fast break, how would basketball fans react to seeing Durant, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry setting up around the 3-point line. How would you guard them? How could you guard them?
In keeping with the soccer theme, Durant’s move to Golden State would be very similar to Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid. Ronaldo is Real’s Steph Curry as the undisputed star. Bale is the man who would be the top guy on 99% of the other clubs in the world, but plays second fiddle to Ronaldo. Do you think Bale cares? Do you think Bale’s career will somehow be judged as “less” because of his teammate?
It’s absurd because of course it’s not. Durant’s skills and superstardom would not be diminished by a move to Golden State, only enhanced. At the end of the day, all we do is count rings. Bill Walton is a two-time NBA Champion – not a one-time champion as the star and one-time champion as a supporting player for Larry Bird’s Celtics.
Let’s not forget that LeBron’s move to Miami that created the Heatles sent NBA ratings soaring to near-Jordan levels. Curry’s success has already moved the needle for the Warriors. Could you even imagine the hysteria and hoopla that would surround the team if Durant was factored in?
The NBA, probably more than any other sport, thrives on super teams. The 1980s and 1990s were defined by them. The Celtics, Lakers, Rockets and Bulls dominated for stretches with teams that featured multiple Hall of Famers. I don’t remember any complaints in 1997 that Scottie Pippen should try to beat Jordan instead of winning with them.
They don’t make documentaries about great teams. They make documentaries about once-in-a-lifetime teams. This year’s version of Golden State is just about there. Next year’s version with Kevin Durant would become the absolute biggest story in sports.
Kevin Durant, I know you’re not coming to DC. So I beg of you, please go to Golden State. I want to see how good you can be. I want to see how good Curry can be. I want to see the best play with the best.Follow me on Twitter