KD The Great, Not KD The Snake

By Zach Harris, BBM Contributor

Somewhere along the years in the golden age of social media - fans, media, and athletes have become infatuated with championship rings. We have lessened the legacy of players such as Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing…etc. in favor of players with more rings. This has created an atmosphere within the NBA that has players ring-chasing to build their legacy. But, is today’s NBA much different than yester-year before social media?

Is Kevin Durant going to be one of the G.O.A.T.? (photo credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Long before Kevin Durant joined the 73-win Golden State Warriors, other players throughout history have made the same type of move. Wilt Chamberlain once forced his way out of Philly to join the Lakers VIA trade, to team up with Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, a team that had made the Finals five of the previous seven seasons. Bill Walton joined the Celtics team coming off back-to-back Championship appearances. Earl “The Pearl” Monroe demanded a trade to the Knicks a year after they won the Championship and teamed up with Walt Frazier and Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere and Bill Bradley. Clyde Drexler requested and received a trade to the Houston Rockets coming off an NBA Championship, to join with Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith, also the young but talented Robert Horry and Sam Cassell.

The two most recent scenarios are ring-chasing is of Kevin Garnett going to Boston to join forces with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, and LeBron James going to Miami to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The latter move is more similar to KD’s move than you think. LeBron joins a team with a great coach, system, culture, and a Hall of Fame executive Pat Riley. When LeBron made the move to “take his talents to South Beach,” he joined a team with possibly one of the greatest guards ever to play in Wade (a 5-time All-Star back then), Bosh and also six other players that were on the team in the previous year. Plus Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who LeBron played with in Cleveland. As you know Lebron made it to four straight Finals, winning two of them.

KD joined the team coming off a 73-win season and a Championship loss. In order for the Warriors to add Durant, they lost many valuable players from that 73 win team, including two starters. Golden State had seven players left from the previous year and three of those players had played less then nine minutes a game. Not only did Kevin Durant have to acclimate to a new team and system, but the team had to figure out how to integrate KD into their system. Steph Curry, a two-time MVP winner, had to learn when to take over and when to defer. There was a learning curve with this team as well, in fact it wasn’t until Curry got hurt that the Warriors were really able to put things together.

With all the comparisons throughout the years, the LeBron and Durant comparison may not be Apples to Apples but should be considered Apples to Apple Pie. Social media may have heightened the bandwagon moves by players, but history has shown that this had been a trend in the NBA for a long time. KD has been a valued teammate on a previously great team and has come in and helped the team win back-to-back championships. While he has won back-to-back Finals MVPs. Kevin Durant did not come in and ride the coattail of a previously dominant team, he put in the hard work and dedication of a two-time Finals MVP. That is why KD is going to be considered one of the greats, not a snake.

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