Student journalist Emad Khan covers the NBA player’s history of childish behavior.
Kevin Durant is a gifted superstar; he will go down as the second greatest small forward in history because of his lethal scoring, thanks to his superior height.
The problem is KD has always wanted a ring to solidify his greatness, to be validated that he is the second greatest and to reach dream of becoming the next Michael Jordan.
He has always sought to surpass Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and other extraordinary basketball legends. And his lack of a ring for many years caused him to develop a bitter yearning for a championship.
He developed a hunger for a ring that has helped define his legacy. During his nine-year tenure in Oklahoma City, he never won a ring. Why? I believe it is because of his stubborn isolation playstyle of basketball.
As a player, he constantly demands the ball, eager to cement his greatness. But his selfish style causes him to play stagnant, unwise basketball.
As a professional, KD is disappointing. After his injury in 2014-2015, he began to grow more sour towards the media because he was beginning to get desperate for a ring. His happiness was fading after failing to reach the NBA finals for two straight seasons after 2012.
His expectations for Oklahoma City were becoming unrealistic, which also assisted in creating a separation between him and Russell westbrook. Both were heavy ball-hog players, the issue was who should have more possession of the ball.
By the time KD’s contract expired in 2016, it was obvious to fans that he would move on, begin a new path with Russel.
The truth is, KD had been considering leaving Oklahoma City for a while at that point, and, when he did say during that time that he planned on staying, it was likely because he did not want to hurt the fans. He was seeking a guaranteed ring, something the warriors gave him and on July 4, 2016.
KD drew some substantial criticism after he left abruptly, with no sincere thank you or appreciation.
From that moment forward, KD began fighting a narrative that he was immature. It signaled he would do anything to chase after Lebron: he valued personal validation over the well-being of his teammates, and even the league at large. It was a weak move.
Everyone knew it was, including KD himself. Analysts heavily criticized the move because it damaged the NBA’s parity just so a super star could coast on another team’s success.
But KD refused to admit he took the easy way out, refusing to accept responsibility, something Lebron did upon his return to Cleveland.
That was how it began, but the real move that has labeled KD as immature was when he began arguing with teenagers on social media, dissing Oklahoma City to admit he left because he was betrayed that the organization didn’t give him a ring.
KD was never a happy player, always a player rushing towards validation. In GS, he was the same, except he won a ring, but he wanted more and more. After two rings, he knew he would leave because Golden State was giving attention to Steph Curry. He was not getting validation for his contribution to the success of GS. KD’s immaturity would continue with arguing with refs, starting minor alterations and standing off against Draymond Green. This behavior revealed his lack of professionalism and his focus on his ego, which contributed to his departure in golden state. He was not being accepted as the alpha dog, so he resented Steph Curry, Steve Kerr and Draymond Green for provoking him.
Despite his tragic injury in game 5 of the NBA finals of 2019, he is still the same person, denying his behavior by media reports and calling analyst sources garbage because he cannot take responsibility.
The titles he won meant nothing for his legacy because Golden State was an established, capable championship team before his arrival, and winning two titles over an undermanned team reveals his contribution as nothing extraordinary beyond the talent of Kevin Durant.
He left for the Nets to begin an era where he has the possibility to win a ring with Kyrie to prove that he is capable.
But, in the end, the analysts are correct: KD will never have a spotless legacy because of his refusal to take responsibility for his ego-driven behavior.