Russell Westbrook’s record-breaking 5-year max contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder is finally complete, and it didn’t take long for internet investigators to realize that today, September 29, just so happens to also be Kevin Durant’s birthday.
Westbrook has had this extension sitting in front of him for over two months and yet waited to sign it on this day. He’s known Paul George is his teammate since July 1 and has had a full week with Carmelo Anthony in town. He’s had time to make up his mind and have the Thunder’s incredible offseason sway him to putting pen to paper, but held off until Friday, September 29. Before we debate whether or not Westbrook’s decision to sign on Durant’s birthday was intentional or simply a coincidence, it’s important to remember just how petty NBA beef can be.
For example, Draymond Green held on to a grudge against LeBron James for an entire year after James wore an ‘Ultimate Warrior’ T-shirt following the Cavaliers’ NBA Finals win over the Warriors in 2016. Green fired back at James and the Cavs with a ‘Quickie’ shirt spoofing on Quicken Loans Arena and the fact that the Warriors made quick work of the Cavs in 2017. When Green was asked about the shirt, he hilariously admitted how petty he is.
And this is just one specific example amongst a sea of NBA pettiness examples. This summer alone we’ve seen players liking Twitter or Instagram posts that trash their rivals at historic levels. We’ve seen Stephen Curry make fun of LeBron James’ workout dancing. And don’t even get me started on Kevin Durant’s fake twitter account fiasco. This is how the NBA works in 2017, and you shouldn’t want it any other way.
Kevin Durant is the face of everything wrong with the NBA today to a certain segment of NBA fans. Every criticism he listed on the sole of his new kicks are things a lot of NBA fans actively attach to Durant and his legacy. To those same fans, Russell Westbrook represents the exact opposite.
Westbrook is the guy who stuck it out. Westbrook is the guy who didn’t leave for greener pastures. Westbrook is the guy who stayed in his small market despite his upcoming opportunity to sign with any NBA team he wanted. They all would have accepted him with open arms, but he stayed in Oklahoma City. Of course, he had $205 million reasons to stay, but it sounds more romantic if we don’t mention that.
In all likelihood, Westbrook and the Thunder will claim that Russ signing his extension on Durant’s birthday was nothing more than a coincidence, but I’m not buying it because I don’t want to buy it. We’ll never know the truth, and the narrative is a lot more fun that way.