I can never forget July 4th, 2016. When the news broke that Kevin Durant would sign with the Golden State Warriors, I, as an avid fan of Stephen Curry and the Warriors, shrugged and thought to myself: ‘smart.’ I was not excited nor particularly happy. Still, I merely acknowledged the intelligence of Durant’s move.
In retrospect, it foretold of Durant’s eventual departure away from Golden State and out of Curry’s shadow.
Durant and Curry are off to different starts for the 2020-21 NBA season. Durant and his new teammate Kyrie Irving are making beautiful music. Curry has struggled to find his footing, but things have been looking up as of late. While Durant and Curry will be elite by themselves, but they will not be the unstoppable force with their new teams like when they were together.
For three seasons in the Durant era, the Warriors terrorized the NBA with a combination of unworldly talent in a revolutionary system. Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green became the league’s envy, flaunting their wealth and winning championships along the way.
But Curry and Durant’s partnership was something unique and different. Yes, we had Kobe and Shaq, Jordan and Pippen, and LeBron and DWade. But the chemistry between KD and Steph was an offensive marvel in the way their games fit together.
Stephen Curry’s shoot-from-anywhere explosions complimented Kevin Durant’s silent assassin approach to the game. In three seasons, Curry and Durant averaged between 25-27 points per game individually. Meshing dynamic talent together usually takes work for the cohesion to happen. But they made it work almost instantly. In their second title run together, both players nearly accomplished another 50/40/90. When both were on, their two-man game was lethal.
I guess that is why I believe that the basketball world took this partnership for granted. Durant joining forces in the Bay either made you a complainer of no parity or understood why Durant made a move. But the heart of the reason why Durant left was just a lack of overall appreciation. From the NBA, Warriors fans, and the Warriors organization.
Now, one could bring about the counter that Durant should have known this would happen. Perhaps, that is why the other side just acknowledged that it was a smart move and nothing more.
The world may never know now, but watching both players in a new era highlights what the universe had in the two. We get so caught up in where a player should go, if he’s the alpha on a team. But Durant told us he just wanted to play for a strong culture that allowed him to compete for titles. We, as a fan base, lasered in on the wrong thing, and Durant found his way out.
Again, this could all go back to Durant’s lack of self-awareness and security in himself. But some of this goes on us as fans, too. We did not appreciate what we had in Durant and Curry. We tolerated the two and enjoyed the show, but we did not appreciate the greatness displayed. Curry and Durant were only a rental.
But now, we can only hope that the Warriors will return to their glory days, and that Durant can find happiness within himself. Because we may never see a power like Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry in their prime again. And if we do, I hope that we do not worry about their motives and desires, Just beautiful basketball within a beautiful partnership.