Kevin Durant is known for being one of the “GOATS” (Greatest of all time), and he supported that case in the 2016-17 NBA season. He started all 62 games, playing around 34 minutes per game, averaging about 25 points per game and got himself and NBA Championship ring, all in his first season with the Golden State Warriors. Yes, the Warriors, the team that beat him and his Oklahoma City Thunder team in the playoffs the year before. He decided to join them, leaving behind OKC after nine consistent seasons playing alongside one of his good friends, Russell Westbrook. Now, thanks to that move, not only is Durant known as being one of the greatest players in the NBA, he’s also known as a “cupcake.” How could you switch to a team that beat you, knowing they were one of the unbeatable teams in the NBA — but if you can’t beat them join them, right? After all of the sacrifices Durant made, I do believe he’s a “cupcake” for the move he made, but he also does deserve to have that ring.
As Durant haters would say, “He did not deserve that ring, he made a weak move.” I agree that moving to the Warriors was a weak move. He could have gone to any team; he is one of the greatest players in the NBA, but no, he decides to go to a team that he knew was going to win. The Warriors were already unstoppable with the people they had — they were just missing a Durant, and once he joined, he knew that ring would be on his fingers. He left behind OKC, leaving one of his good friends, letting Westbrook know he was switching teams over a text message. Text, really? In several interviews, Westbrook said he understood that Durant had to do what you needed to do. Westbrook literally said, “He has to make a decision that is best for him” in his interview after the 2016 season was over, nothing behind it but support for Durant. Instead of having a face-to-face conversation with someone he played beside for nine seasons straight, he sent a text, which either means he knew the move he was making was foul, or he didn’t have the guts to talk to his old friend to his face, which is why I personally feel Durant is a cupcake. That’s your friend, keep it real. The way Durant operated through this whole thing was a weak move and I think that’s why it was so easy for the media to play a part in Westbrook and Durant’s friendship. The media switched around some words, got in each of their heads and it was easy for them to do that because of the way Durant moved around throughout all this. Like come on, a text ? Who would not feel deceived after hearing the man you have been playing beside for nine seasons and have known since you were a teenager is leaving and sends you a text. That’s why he is a cupcake.
Besides the cold way he left Westbrook and OKC, the team he chose to join was a bad look, too. It doesn’t look good for Durant because he decided to go to a team that had beat him the year before and was already a good team in the league. It made him look like a desperate player. Makes me want to say to KD, look, you were great before the ring. Millions of people look up to you. The message it sends to your fans, younger basketball players who want to be like you one day, who admire your skills, is to basically go to the winning team. If you can’t beat them, join them.
So, yeah, I agree, KD is a cupcake.
But he deserves his ring.
In 2012 when he played with OKC and lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in his first NBA finals, he was genuinely upset at the outcome. Everyone hopes to win the finals. He always believed he was second in everything and he wanted to be first; he always felt as if he was coming up behind someone else.
He went to the Warriors because he felt he hadn’t found himself yet. Westbrook had his life together, knew what he wanted, and Durant felt he didn’t have that yet and he wanted to do something that felt fight and would make him happy. Of course it made him happy going to the Warriors, he could have went somewhere else but he chose to go to the “winning team.”
But besides that, his work ethic and determination — proven over nine gruelling seasons in OKC — is enough to me to say that ring was meant to be on his finger. Why is it so hard for people to acknowledge Durant as one of the best players in the league right now? Even though his offseason move was weak, he still played the same, he still racked up points, he just had more people to help him. I get that you have to earn it, but I feel like he did. He worked, he put in his time, he ground out those nine years on an underperforming OKC team. Now that he switched he doesn’t deserve the ring? Even though he put in the same work he did at OKC. Yes he may have had more people to help and add less stress but doesn’t everybody want that ? Why shouldn’t this man get a ring?
And to those who say the old “GOATS” such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, wouldn’t have made the cupcake move — the league is different now. It’s 2017 you got to get in where you fit in. He wanted to win, he wanted a ring, he wanted to come in first and not second for once. Yes, he is a cupcake for deciding to play with the team he decided to play with, but he worked for his ring and that’s why he got it.
I still firmly believe Durant is a “cupcake” for taking the easy route, but at the same time I have to put myself in his shoes. I just graduated high school and I played basketball, and I will continue to play basketball in college. My team wasn’t the best. We couldn’t play 100 percent every game — therewas always something missing. Many of us could have stopped playing, some could have switched schools, and at one point in time I was in that situation of considering a transfer. Did I transfer ? No. Why give up on the people that didn’t give up on me? why transfer? Yes everyone loves to win, everyone loves the feeling of beating every team and possibly going to state, but it’s not just about that. That feeling is great (I imagine) but there a team is built on a bond. I may get shamed for thinking opposite but if I were in KD’s giant shoes, I would not have left personally, especially to a team that I know is more dominate than everyone else. I feel like that is weak and putting in the work changes outcomes, not hopping around trying to find the easy way out.
So that is why I think Durant is a cupcake. He left OKC to get a ring, which, ultimately, I must admit he did deserve because he worked hard for it. He is one of the greatest.
I just wish he had proved that without going to the Warriors.
This piece was produced by a student journalist in the Madison365 Academy. To learn more, and support our educational programs, visit madison365.org/academy.