KEVIN DURANT: THE NBA’S NEWEST LOVE-TO-HATE PLAYER WINS BIG | KEVIN DURANT: THE NBA’S NEWEST LOVE-TO-HATE PLAYER WINS BIG

kevin durantKEVIN DURANT: THE NBA’S NEWEST LOVE-TO-HATE PLAYER WINS BIG

By Marc Auker

The Golden State Warriors are the 2017 National Basketball Association (NBA) champions. Spearheading the squad’s historic championship season was small forward Kevin Durant, who took home Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors for his performance in the 2017 NBA Finals. There was a wave of backlash against Durant at the beginning of this season for his decision to join the Warriors, and that backlash has seemingly quadrupled since winning it all this season.

Durant was the long-time cornerstone of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC), which was formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics. While a member of the Thunder, he won an NBA MVP award in 2014, won four NBA scoring titles (2010-’12, 2014), and was named to eight NBA All-Star teams (2010-’17). He also led the team to the NBA Finals in 2012 against the Miami Heat, where the Thunder lost in five games. Along with Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, though, Durant looked poised to take the team back to the finals in the near future heading into the 2016-’17 season. That sure didn’t happen, though.

In July of 2016, Durant shocked the sports world by announcing his move to the Warriors. The deal shocked fans of not only the Thunder, but also of the NBA in general. One of the game’s premiere players, Durant was headed to arguably the most premiere team in the NBA; a team that had just won 73 games in the prior season.

The main criticism that surrounded Durant’s decision to move away from OKC was that he was simply taking the easy route to a championship ring. He had come so close in OKC with Westbrook, but he just couldn’t get it done; and many fans thought he simply couldn’t take it anymore. Just like that, with one decision, Durant had become one of the biggest talking points in discussion about the NBA. To a lot of fans, he became someone that they could love to hate.

Following another stellar season, Durant found his Golden State squad on the cusp of winning it all. After a 4-1 series win against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Durant was named Finals MVP. Exactly what the NBA fan base thought was going to happen actually did happen: Durant won a ring with the Warriors.

The aftermath of the championship win has been a wave of criticism toward Durant. He’s been called out by big-name celebrities and NBA fans alike; but the fact remains that he is an NBA champion and a Finals MVP.

Whether the move was right or wrong has been rendered irrelevant now. Durant did exactly what he set out to do. The question that now remains is whether he can do it all over again next season; and with the talented Golden State lineup, he’s poised to do something special.

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