Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This is a dynasty, and we've got to get used to it

By Trevor Hass

Two years ago, when I lived in Oakland, I was all in on the Warriors. They had been one of my favorite teams ever since Steph entered the league, and I was thrilled to see them succeed like they were.

It almost seemed serendipitous and too good to be true that the summer I moved there was the summer they captured their first championship in decades. I splurged on tickets for game six of the Western Conference Finals, rendezvoused at a bar with the local diehards when they clinched the title and weaved through a sea of people at the parade.

I loved the Warriors. They embodied everything I enjoy about basketball – free-flowing poetry in motion, lethal shooting all over and unending unselfishness. They drafted most of their top guns and assembled their star-studded roster the right way. There wasn’t much not to like, and I was in basketball heaven for a couple months.

Fast-forward two years, when the Kevin Durant-led Warriors won the 2017 championship Monday night. I was back in the Boston area, watching on the couch as they cemented their place in history.

To be totally honest, this whole series was weird to me. It was like watching your best friend from middle school turned bully fighting an equally nasty and burly acquaintance. You’re just standing there, wide-eyed and in disbelief, hoping they beat each other up like crazy but not knowing what outcome you want. Five games later, even now that it’s over, I’m not entirely sure who I was rooting for. That sounds funny to me even as I type it out, but it’s true. I was so conflicted the entire way.

All I wanted was for the series to be competitive, intense and go seven, so once the Cavs went down 2-0 I had no choice but to root for them. What happened to 2015 me? Where was that guy craning his neck at the parade to catch a glimpse of the Warriors as they floated on by? On what planet would I be rooting for the Cavs to beat the Warriors? If 2008 me found out 2017 me was pulling for LeBron, he’d be very disappointed. 

I’ve followed the NBA religiously since I was a kid, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had such mixed opinions on a saga as I do about this one. For the record, I love Steph’s game more than just about anything. I’d never bore watching Klay drain jumpers all day, I respect Iggy and Livingston like crazy and (though his temper leaves a lot to be desired) there’s no denying Draymond’s a wizard when it comes to intangibles. I even love Kevin Durant.

That’s right. I said it. People who have criticized him all year need to give it a rest. It’s his choice. How would you like it if someone said you couldn’t take your dream job at a better company in a better city? Chastising someone for doing what’s best for them is just straight up mean. I think there’s a very fine line between hating Durant and hating his decision. I can’t say I hate either, but I can wholeheartedly say I don’t hate Durant.

Do I love the decision? No, I really don’t, and I think the bulk of my apprehension with the whole thing stems from my deep-rooted infatuation with and gravitation toward the underdog.

During March Madness, nothing gets me quite as revved up as when a mid-major slays Goliath. We all love the unexpected, and the Warriors winning last night was anything but that. We saw it coming months away, and it felt like the playoffs were mostly just a formality.

Once Durant joined the Warriors, the only thing stopping him from getting his first ring was time. Once June hit, whether we wanted him to or not, he was finally going to claim that elusive championship.

When the Warriors won, I didn’t jump for joy and I didn’t scream in frustration. I just kind of sat there and watched it unfold, like a fly on the wall. It was like seeing the end of a really well done movie that someone already spoiled the ending for.

Whether we like it or not (and I’m still not entirely sure where I stand), this is the NBA now. This is a dynasty, and we’ve got to get used to it.   

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