When Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors last summer, it might have changed the NBA forever.
There were two clear opinions on his decision.
Warriors fans (and some KD fans) applauded the move, or at least respected it. Golden State’s brand of basketball would be a perfect fit for the four-time scoring champion.
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However, a large number of fans from around the league didn’t appreciate the move, calling the superstar out for taking the easy road instead of figuring things out beside Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. After all, he decided to bolt and join the team that took down his Thunder in last year’s Western Conference Finals. Plus, the Warriors were coming off of a historic 73-win regular season.
Nonetheless, the public perception of the move doesn’t matter anymore, as Durant captured his first championship when the Warriors took down the Cleveland Cavaliers by the score of 129-120 in Game 5 on Monday night.
With incredible performances throughout the Finals, Durant was also awarded with the Bill Russell Finals MVP award as well, and his numbers in the series were astounding:
In other words, he made the most of his opportunity and followed through on his decision to chase a ring.
Durant’s emotions were on display late in the game, as he could barely contain himself from holding back tears of joy in the final minute. He could barely function on the court, as his mind tried to comprehend what was about to happen when the final whistle blew.
When the final buzzer sounded, the former league MVP nearly broke down multiple times, especially when his mother was around:
ABC’s sideline reporter Doris Burke could barely even get questions in due to his excitement:
Here was his reaction to winning the Finals MVP award:
As you can see, he soaked it all in and the entire experience meant a lot to him.
While many members of the media defended his decision last summer, there were also many who ripped him for it, resembling the fan reactions on social media.
Durant was able to block out the negativity and focus on the goal at hand. Since he missed some time towards the end of the regular season with a knee sprain, it most likely made the victory that much sweeter for Durant, who has publicly stated that he wants to remain in Golden State for the long term, even if it means taking less money to be there.
As seen in this Finals series, that’s very bad news for LeBron James and the rest of the NBA as a whole.