I said back in July when Kevin Durant rocked the NBA world with his trade request, that he "showed us who he was".
It wasn't a negative comment, but one that encompasses his entire career being a product of our current sport climate - success and focus on legacy. We emphasize the value of a career on rings, and thus, Durant has too. Why wouldn't he?!
Upon waking up and realizing that Durant will don the purple and orange for the Phoenix Suns in what is clearly now a team to watch come the NBA Playoffs, I find myself further pondering if Kevin Durant is the prime result of what we - yes, us! - have done to the modern athlete.
Today, Durant is one of the greatest basketball players I've ever seen. EVER. The dude is rare. He's a seven-foot magician which makes defending him even more difficult based on how damn efficient he is on the basketball court. It's downright poetic and beautiful to watch Durant play. And yes, I'm romanticizing his game. I believe in Durant that much.
But then, I think about a guy who still has to carry - what has turned into a curse - the narrative of only winning once he piggybacked someone else's championship legacy.
I think about this superstar, who was given it all in Brooklyn, and failed - yes, failed.
I think about his career and how it is becoming a growing narrative (almost steeped in fact) that he runs from the career adversity that we've come to love and adore from some of our all-time greats - no matter which sport.
I think about Kevin Durant, who may finish up his career with us wondering if the first place he played, Oklahoma City, is the site of his biggest impact.
I think about in this era of "the ring" and the constant media and fan scrutiny, how guys like Damian Lillard actually may have the most authentic legacy equity, even without winning it all. Am I crazy for saying that?
Durant is the ultimate product of us. He wants to hoop and win. No matter what. He'll run toward wherever that gives him the chance to do so. That's all. That's how we've come to keep score.
Yet, it still feels like there should be more.