It took me a while to come around to it. You see, I was one of those guys such as Stephen A. Smith, Charles Barkley, and many others that criticized Kevin Durant for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder. I mean how can you go from this…..
I then shifted my perspective to realizing that it was okay that he left his fellow All-Star, Russell Westbrook in OKC, but he should have gone to a team like the LA Clippers, Miami Heat, or his hometown team, Washington Wizards. I said to myself “you know what maybe Durant playing with Westbrook is not conducive to the pair winning championships and perhaps Durant should take on the mantle of top dog on another budding contender that only needed him to get over the proverbial hump. However, that didn’t happen and Durant joined up with the 73-9 Golden State Warriors, the team that eliminated his Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Finals. Durant’s free agency decision in 2016 was literally the idea of “if you can’t beat em’, join em’.
The headline of this article surely indicates that my perspective on KD’s free agency decision has changed and that is indeed true, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the game of Basketball. You see, society has taught us that you have to pay your dues and struggle before you could be successful. Society has taught us to look down on those that were born with a silver spoon in their mouth because they A. “Never had to go through hard times” or B. Is just a spoiled brat who is only successful because they are living off their families’ legacy and connections. Now as a man in my late 20s, I realize how stupid it is to think that. Afterall, isn’t the end game to live an easy life and make sure the generation after you do not have to suffer? Obviously, for those aware of Durant’s upbringing, you will understand that I’m speaking of him from a basketball perspective but his decision does serve as an example of Groupthink in everyday life. When you apply the logic of being great at your respective craft and having the opportunity to find a new place of employment that offers you better pay for less work, more vacation time, and a better 401 K Plan, wouldn’t you take it? The same concept applies to Kevin Durant and it took me a while to realize it. This past week, Kevin Durant secured his second straight NBA Championship and Finals MVP award.
Kevin Durant is playing in a better environment with better teammates, coaching, and a system that allows him to play a free-flowing style of basketball with lots of ball movement. So what he’s playing with three other All-Stars. At the end of the day, he’s not coasting by. It might not be a popular thing to say right now after the Warriors secured their 3rd championship in four years, but the Warriors would not win these last two championships without the service of Kevin Durant.
The moral of the story is that life isn’t easy but it could be very simple if you allow it to be. Many of us spend too much time worrying about what the next person thinks and making decisions that are not in the benefit of our emotional well being but to validate ourselves to others. Perhaps, it’s because we rather look ourselves in the mirror and say “you know what, I’m not where I want to be right now but I’m going to continue to grind and not take the easy way out.” But what if that is just an excuse for not taking a worthy risk? In the case of Kevin Durant, he could easily have resorted to the take of many NBA legends of the past and resort to the typical rhetoric of “I know I didn’t win a championship, but at least I stayed loyal to my team and I went down on my shield.” In my opinion, it takes more courage to embrace the easy road because expectations rise from it. Once you do so, YOU are held accountable for your results. In the case of Kevin Durant, he did everything he was supposed to do and more and he should be at peace with that. We could all learn from guys such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant for they aren’t satisfied with mediocrity or satisfying “critics” for fighting the good fight even if it’s a losing battle. We must embrace the easy path if it is offered to us and focus on our own happiness or how else could we rise, grind, and shine?