Love him or hate him, Kevin Durant had a magnificent NBA Finals, averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game en route to his first championship victory as a member of the Golden State Warriors.
He was named as the unanimous Finals MVP as a result.
Averaging 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 33.4 minutes through 62 regular-season contests, Durant’s fit within Golden State’s system of play was obvious from the get-go, and his season finished with nothing short of a storybook ending for him.
LeBron James wasn’t thrilled about that.
“Well, I’m not happy he won his first. I’m not happy at all,” James said of Durant getting his first title via Fred Kerber of the New York Daily News. “But at the end of the day from when I played him in the 2012 Finals to now, like I said, experience is the best teacher in life, and he’s just experiencing and experiencing and experiencing. And it also helps when you are able to experience some things with this team as well.”
After the game, emotions ran high as Durant shared the spotlight with his mother Wanda in front of an adoring Oracle Arena crowd.
Draymond Green summed up KD’s impact in simple terms during his postgame on-court interview:
“You learn from your mistakes. Obviously we had a letdown last year. I had a letdown last year,” Green said. “But like I told everybody, if Kevin Durant was the consolation prize to lose, thanks for that loss and we champs this year.”
Durant shot an amazing 14-for-20 from the field for 39 points and added seven boards and five assists in his remarkable Game 5 output.
As a result, Durant became just the third player in NBA history to win at least four scoring titles and an NBA title, joining two NBA legends:
He now stands alone with Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.
That’s not bad company.
Durant’s 176 total points scored in the Finals is the second-highest total ever in a five-game series, right behind another legend:
Durant is also the first player since 2002 to score 30 or more points in every game of the NBA Finals:
Moving forward, it will be fascinating to see what Durant decides to do the next time he hits free agency. Now that he has a championship under his belt, it remains to be seen whether or not he will stay in Golden State or bolt again towards a different challenge.