Before you burn his jersey and hate all he stands for, allow me to reason with you.
Hypothetical situation: A player has an opportunity to go to a team on which he could be more successful. This team is in a bigger market, with better players, the best coach in the league, and many opportunities to expand his brand. He chooses to pursue this opportunity in hopes that he can relieve a burden that has been on his shoulders for years.
Now back to reality. This is the choice Kevin Durant has made. Forget about the fact that this is the team that just beat him. He said from the start: “This is a basketball decision.” He chose the best place for him to succeed in his craft, the best place for him to relieve the burden of a championship.
It is understandable that fans are hurt by his decision and they may not necessarily agree with it, but it another thing to disrespect Durant. He has done too much for Oklahoma City for Oklahomans to turn on him.
Everything from donations to his contribution on the court, Kevin Durant has been a leader, wherever he is. He has led efforts to improve academics and athletics in Oklahoma City’s youth. He has donated his own money in relief efforts for Oklahoma. He has used his charity foundation, the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation, as a platform for fundraisers. He has donated money to his childhood community, Seat Pleasant, MD.
Although the amount of money donated is not the most important part of his charity, I’ll include some figures:
- Donated $1 million to American Red Cross for disaster relief (this act then probed the Thunder, NBA, and NBPA to match his donation)
- Donated $150,000 to three Prince George’s County community organizations
- Donated $35,000 to Positive Tomorrows
- More than 3,400 homeless youth served in one summer as a part of his Strong and Kind initiative.
These community contributions should not be forgotten, and citizens should realize that he did, and will continue to care about the city.
Durant gave everything he could to Oklahoma City for 9 years. He has made a decision that he, himself, has said was the hardest one of professional life. His legacy will most definitely take a hit from this decision, but he made this decision for a reason.
It was quite apparent that in this process Durant was struggling. It was reported that Durant was intrigued by other options, but he was torn about leaving the Thunder. He realizes the brand he built in Oklahoma City, as one of the founding fathers of this organization.
I acknowledge that Oklahoma City is hurting in light of this decision, but realize one thing, Kevin Durant made the best decision for him as a basketball player, a man, and a brand. Fans have to think of this from the perspective of a player; if you had an opportunity to have a better chance to succeed, wouldn’t you take advantage of it? So much talk is being made of Kevin Durant joining the team that just beat him. There is a reason I haven’t mentioned the Golden State Warriors yet. It wasn’t because he couldn’t beat them, it was because he made the best basketball decision for him. He chose to explore the opportunity that helped him succeed most in basketball. It was a basketball decision.
In conclusion, I would like to re-acknowledge that fans have the right to be upset. Losing a superstar is hard for anyone, for whatever reason, but respect for Kevin Durant, the person, needs to stay in tact. He deserves to be respected for whatever decision he makes. He has done too much for every citizen of Oklahoma to be disrespected the way he is right now.
From a fan’s perspective, I wish Durant all the best in Golden State, and in his future, wherever he ends up, and every fan should be agreeing with me.