Kevin Durant‘s Thunder lost to the Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference Finals. That summer, Durant signed with Golden State. Durant and the Warriors won championships in 2017 and 2018.
Did Durant take the easy way out to get a ring?
No. What does that even mean?
I just never understood what that means, because I still come to work every day. I go through every rep at 100 percent speed. So, I just don’t understand that.
And I played at an elite level in the Finals in all the biggest moments. And I could understood if I didn’t play well at all. But I played the best that I could play in both Finals for that team. So, I felt like I got up every day and held myself to a championship, elite-player standard and reached it pretty much 98 percent of the time in practice and games and shootarounds.
So, yeah, of course, I earned that.
But Durant absolutely took the easy way out to a ring.
Durant has tried to downplay this storyline before, saying he wouldn’t have signed with the Warriors if they won the 2016 title. But they weren’t some typical non-champion. They won a title in 2015 then 73 games in 2015-16. They still had Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala in their primes. Golden State would’ve been favored for 2017 even without signing Durant.
Of course, the favorites don’t win as often as people think. Every championship is earned.
Durant worked hard once he joined the Warriors. He didn’t just ride his new teammates’ coattails. Durant won NBA Finals MVP in 2017 and 2018.
But Durant never struggled and fought his way over the hump. He joined a championship-level team and turned it into a super team. Relatively, he had an easy path to the title.
Whether or not that factored prominently into his decision to sign with Golden State, it’d be OK for him to admit it.