Friday, October 7 2022

Kevin Durant is in the middle of trying to build a legacy with the Brooklyn Nets, a franchise that has never won a championship. But Durant’s legacy is already secure in the history of two other franchises and the NBA as a whole. 

Durant never won a championship with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he got them to the Finals and four conference finals and left as clearly the greatest player in franchise history, even if you feel inclined to include the Seattle Supersonics as part of that picture. 

In 2016 Durant moved on to the Golden State Warriors, with whom he won two championships and two Finals MVPs. You can say what you want about Durant’s decision to join the Warriors, the team that beat his Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Finals, but there is no arguing how sensational Durant was next to Steph Curry as half of one of the greatest duos in NBA history. For my money, that 2017 Warriors title team is the greatest team the NBA has ever seen. 

All of this is to say it’s pretty obvious that Durant will eventually have his No. 35 jersey retired by both the Thunder and Warriors, something Durant said he is fully expecting in a recent interview with Logan Murdock of The Ringer

“Every one of these places I played is my home,” Durant told Murdock. “I can imagine me when I’m done, and I don’t think any one of these franchises would be like, ‘No, K, what you did here is not a part of our history.’ I’m going to be a Hall of Famer when I’m done, one of the greatest to ever play. If you don’t want me to be a part of your program when I’m done playing, then that’s personal.

“OKC has to retire my jersey,”Durant continued. “It wouldn’t even be good for the game of basketball if they didn’t. The same with Golden State. I’m still doing what I’m doing here in Brooklyn, but if I continue on what I’m doing four or five years, then I’ll feel the same way about this program. I better have a home. Because I feel like I am basketball. I breathe it. This is my DNA. I put in the time and respect and love for each one of these programs on and off the floor to get that type of recognition. If [they] don’t do it, then it’s personal.”

Again, Durant is right to believe he deserves — and will get — a formal place in each of these franchises’ histories. In fact, forget just the retired number; I’d go so far as to say he deserves a statue with both Golden State and Oklahoma City. We’ll see what happens with Brooklyn, but something tells me he’s got a pretty good shot of seeing his jersey raised in those rafters one day. 



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