A pall was cast over the state of Oklahoma as everyone was celebrating the 4th of July. I myself was at our small town’s Independence Day Parade when we got the news. Kevin Durant was leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not just leaving but going to the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors, with the super-record of 73-9, whom the Thunder came this close to beating in the playoffs. The Warriors, whom Oklahoma came to know in the seven game series, the team of the below-the-belt tactics of Draymond Green.
It wasn’t the money. Golden State offered Durant $54 million over two years, but the Thunder were offering him $201 million over five. He apparently sees the Warriors as his best shot for a championship ring. I should say so. They only lost 9 games last season. They might not lose any with Durant joining MVP Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The NBA suddenly becomes less competitive, less balanced, and less interesting. With the Thunder, the team Durant has been with for his whole career and taken to the very top tier, he would have been responsible for any championship that they would win. Now he is just joining a team that is championship-caliber without him.
As Durant’s free-agency drew near, Oklahoma became desperate to keep him. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. The governor said that if he stayed she would give him a cabinet position (on sports and health or some other made-to-order commission). Oklahoma loved “KD,” flocking to his Bricktown restaurant in their zeal to give him more and more of their money, and KD responded with generous philanthropic gifts to local charities (including tornado relief) and fulsome expressions of appreciation for the city and the state. So now it’s like the whole state has its collective heart broken.