When Kevin Durant started the Fourth of July fireworks early on Monday by announcing in a Player’s Tribune piece he had decided to go with the Warriors as his free agency choice, he knew what was coming. The hate would be swift and strong and show a decided lack of empathy and grace. The venom from discouraged Oklahoma City fans — or Boston fans, or San Antonio fans, or Cleveland fans, or Miami fans, or really anyone outside of the Bay — is still happening, just go check. But they may have missed the meaning of Durant’s supposedly self-penned words as everyone started composing their first tweet.
K.D. says he was born in D.C., but Oklahoma City “truly raised me.” Then he thanked the franchise and the fans the only way he really knew how:
There are no words to express what the organization and the community mean to me, and what they will represent in my life and in my heart forever. The memories and friendships are something that go far beyond the game. Those invaluable relationships are what made this deliberation so challenging.
The jaded part of us knows this carefully constructed piece will probably be turned into a meme soon, but we’re willing to try and empathize with the man at the center of the free agency choice that will probably be unfairly maligned for the rest of the summer as exhibit A of the NBA’s destruction. Or at least the biggest sign something is really, really wrong.
Just look at the reactions. Hyperbole has ceased to exist and the instinctively angry retorts are coming and going throughout timelines across the basketball landscape.
And that’s not all. Because the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement was supposed to end the unfair advantage larger-market teams possessed, the Thunder losing their franchise cornerstone to the Bay’s Warriors has already started to ruffle some feathers, and these aren’t your standard impulsive Twitter accounts from disgruntled fans, either.
However, Oklahoma City’s owner and general manager showed Thunder fans, Dan Gilbert, and really anyone else around the NBA who is talking and tweeting like they’re John jotting down an epistle for the NBA’s Book of Revelations (Bill Simmons doesn’t have the™ symbol attached to that in some tweet from 2010, we hope) how to properly reflect on what happened.
And then there’s this, which gives us great hope.
Except, that’s not the world we live in, is it?
Oh well, mourn or celebrate however you choose. There’s no right response to the Durant deal, but the NBA will be fine, trust us.
At least fans get a cool new nickname that’s better than the “Death Lineup,” which Durant helped kill long before today’s news.
And the new small-ball name reminds all of us that no one does overreactions as well as the world’s first Twitter tastemaker, God.