Despite gutting out a 106-105 road win in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals over the Toronto Raptors, the victory north of the border will be marred by the Achilles injury suffered by Golden State Warriors forward, Kevin Durant.
Durant, the two-time back-to-back reigning NBA Finals MVP, returned to the court after being out a month following a strained right calf injury against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals.
During the time he was out, there were constant debates across social media–and pushed by my FAVORITE four-lettered sports network–as to whether the Warriors would be better with the man known as The Slim Reaper.
As one who is a member of many Facebook sports debate groups, I have seen this question posed in a wide barriers of ways with varying context to the argument.
Along with whether or not Dubs was better sans Durant, the proverbial proof was evident in how the upstart Toronto Raptors–and their grade-school box and one defense–to the point that the Barney’s are on the precipice of one of the biggest upsets in modern-day sports history.
It is sad though that even if Toronto wins the series, that the 2019 NBA Finals will forever have a proverbial asterisk due to the loss and injury of Durant.
As a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, I have disdain for both teams, and not really having a dog in this fight, however, I’ll also state that I have played at the high school level (baseball, volleyball, men’s lacrosse and soccer) that I knew right away that Durant’s injury was a Achilles based on his reaction vs. the Rockets.
Personally, there are three culprits that deserve blame and to called to the carpet;
No.1: The national media for pushing the ‘soft’ narrative of KD defecting from OKC to Dubs. I get it, I understand it, and again, as a Cavs fan on the losing end of two Finals due to his presence, I despise Durant on a certain level in titling the balance of NBA power so heavily to Golden State, but at the end of the day, he did what was best for him and his chances of winning a ring.
C’mon, let’s be honest here for a sec!
If a rival company offered YOU top dollar to come join them, would you stay at your current company? Didn’t think so? So, why are YOU hating on a man who did the same thing–and taking a pay cut as well?
Recently, my recent blog here at this fine magazine of mine about the national media stirring the pot over OBJ’s absence from VOLUNTARY workouts ruffled a few feathers and got some people’s panties in a bunch.
To them, I say this. TOUGH. SHIT.
I still stand by it, as the Bullshit Entertainment Sports Network was the main perpetrator–along with other outlets–that pushed the “KD is soft” narrative and while there we other’s who were also responsible, the Boston-loving, Bristol-based, SEC Network ass-kissing, 800-pound gorilla is surely singing the Blues after their adopted sports town lost Game 7 vs. St. Louis last night.
No.2 As fans, we all talk shit online and like to exercise our inner keyboard warrior when it comes to debating and arguing sports.
Again, I get it and understand it.
However, in the Age of Social Media, athletes and fans have an unlimited amount of access to information.
And, as stated above, there were various rival fans and trolls who helped spread the Mother Ship’s agenda of “KD being soft” and “are the Warriors better without Durant” agenda, etc.
Athletes hear and feed into that, and while KD did ultimately decide to risk injury in playing, as well as answering critics online and deciding to respond to outside and external subliminal pressure in questioning his heart, whether he was going to stay or leave GSW surely played a factor in his tragic injury.
Think on it.
Fans love to “represent” and “hate” online and no team is MORE hated Golden State and no player is MORE hated than Durant.
It’s sad that now because of his injury that he may become the most expensive medical redshirt in sports history and may now likely exercise his $31.9 million player option and sit at home and rehab on the Warriors dime.
No.3 Lastly, I feel that the Warriors medical staff and PR department are to also blame, mainly the medical staff for doing–what I feel was a misdiagnosis of Durant’s calf injury.
Again, I’m not accusing them of an actual misdiagnosis, but I feel that the ball was dropped in clearing a clearly-still recovering and compromised KD. Coming from someone who has played sports, I’m both very aware and sensitive when it comes to injuries, seeing how he pulled up immediately told me that he did something to his Achilles.
What really grinds my gears is how the Warriors PR department proverbially dangled Durant like a piece of human bait in downplaying his injury in hopes his possible return. It’s one thing if a player is not being fully healthy, but trotting back back into action when he was still compromised is both medically and professionally unethical and unprofessional.
Now, on the eve of what may be the last night of the Warriors dynasty, their greatest warrior in Durant is hobbled and on his last legs, just like his team.
Sad that the media, haters and trolls got what they wanted.